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Home Tips | 9 Posts

Gift Ideas From Local Lafayette Shops

Lafayette Local Shops

Running out of ideas for meaningful gifts? Our real estate agents are always inspired by the many independent small businesses in our community. Take a break from viewing Lafayette homes for sale for some holiday shopping at these delightful shops.

  • Lagniappe Records - 311-B Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Vinyl has made a big comeback in recent years. Treat the audiophile on your list to some classic discs from Lagniappe Records. Part of the fun of shopping at Lagniappe Records is that old-school thrill of flipping through albums in search of a hidden gem. If you need some help, the husband-and-wife owners are friendly and knowledgeable. Hours are noon - 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

  • The Bougie Bar - 403-B S. Buchanan St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    "Bougie" is a French term for "candle," and this unique shop is a great source for DIY gifts. Make your own custom-blended candle while sipping on your favorite wine at one of The Bougie Bar's classes. Sign up for an existing session or assemble a group of friends for a private party. Cost is $40 per person, which includes all materials and a souvenir wine glass, and a 15 percent discount on retail purchases.

  • Pavy Art + Design Studio - 100 E. Vermilion St., Suite 108, Lafayette, LA 70501
    Share Louisiana pride with a special gift from Pavy Art + Design Studio. The shop's pillows, prints, jewelry, and accessories are based on "Pavicons," the visual vocabulary and iconic imagery of local artist Francis X. Pavy. As an accomplished artist who has worked in ceramics, painting, block-printing, and mixed media, Pavy draws inspiration from music, folklore, and other elements of Cajun and Creole culture. Pavy Studio is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

  • Deuxième Vie Creative - 549 Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Do you have a friend or family member who's an avid crafter? Maybe you want to nurture a child's imagination and creativity. Deuxième Vie Creative, which translates to "Second Life," offers a wide range of craft kits that incorporate repurposed materials. The recipient of your gift will have fun making a wall hanging from an old 45 record or a wind chime with colorful beads. If you prefer, pick up a ready-made gift at their on-site boutique. Hours are noon - 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday.

  • Beausoleil Books - 302-A Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    In this digital age, there's still nothing like the comforting feel of holding an actual book. Head to Beausoleil Books for a thoughtfully curated selection of best-sellers, classics, and special-interest titles. It's also a good excuse to spend time in the Whisper Room, the cozy adjoining lounge that offers wine and cocktails, charcuterie, and desserts. Relax with a glass of wine and a plate of cheese while diving into a new book. Hours are 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday.

  • Genterie Supply Co. - 408 Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Genterie Supply Co.
    may have an industrial sound, but the "supplies" are actually stylish clothing, accessories, and home decor products. Follow them on Instagram for updates on all the latest arrivals. Hours are 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily except Sunday when doors close at 3 p.m.

Gift yourself and your family with a beautiful home in Lafayette. Contact us at Latter & Blum to get started on your search.


What to Ask When Interviewing Real Estate Agents

Interview Real Estate Agents

When you're listing your home for sale, you'll have your choice of many real estate agents to do business with. Before signing a contract, take the time to interview a few, so you understand exactly what they'll be doing to sell your home and to ensure you have a good rapport with them.
Our real estate agents suggest asking the following questions when you're interviewing agents:

  • What's included in your services?  
    Real estate agents typically list your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), complete with an accurate listing description and appealing photos. They should also help you price your home based on a comparative market analysis of similar homes in your area. 

  • How would you market my home?
    A real estate agent should be able to explain how your home will be marketed. How will photographs and videos of your home be handled? Will other marketing strategies, like direct mail, be used?

  • What steps will be taken to prepare your home for sale?
    You'll need to know what to do to prepare your home before it goes on the market, and a real estate agent's experience and expertise should be able to guide you. They may, for example, suggest improvements that will make your home more attractive to prospective buyers. If that's the case, the agent should be able to tell you what improvements are most popular with buyers in your area and which are likely to earn the highest return on your investment.

  • What type of experience do you have?
    Ideally, an agent will have experience in selling homes that are in the same neighborhood or area as yours. They should also have experience in selling the type of home you have, such as a starter home, home with acreage, or a historic home.

  • Can you help connect me with other professionals? 
    Selling your home often requires the help of professionals such as home inspectors and title companies. And if you're making repairs and improvements to your home, you may need recommendations for painters, plumbers, and other similar tradespeople. A real estate agent should have good relationships with these contacts and be able to recommend those who perform their jobs with honesty and skill.

  • What sets you apart from other agents?  
    Marketing your home is important, but an agent also needs to be able to successfully market themselves to you. Do they pride themselves on their experience or a successful track record? Are they particularly good at being available when you need them? They should be able to answer this question in a way that makes you want to do business with them.

  • How well do you know the area?
    Although agents who are new to the area can often do a great job, it's an extra advantage to have an agent who has lived around the area for a long time. That way, they'll understand the local market, know what's important to buyers in the area, be aware of all the amenities near your home, and more.  

Contact us today to put your home on the market with other Lafayette homes for sale or to visit homes for sale in the area. Our agents pride themselves on knowing the local market and making your real estate transaction experience an easy and pleasant one. 


Your Guide to Downtown Lafayette

Downtown Lafayette

Whether you're looking for a quiet evening out on the town or lively entertainment, our real estate agents agree that Downtown Lafayette is the place to be. Have fun exploring these fascinating places and activities, just minutes from Lafayette homes for sale

  • ArtWalk
    Immerse yourself in the boundless creative energy of Acadiana at ArtWalk. On the second Saturday of each month, Downtown Lafayette's museums, galleries, and studios stage events designed to showcase local artists and performers. 2021 brings two new participants to the festivities. Lafayette Arts & Fleas will have a market in Parc de Lafayette, while Louisiana Crafts Guild is hosting Marché Sans Souci along East Vermilion Street. ArtWalk is a delightful outing for couples, families, and anyone who appreciates art. Hours are 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., while Marché Sans Souci opens at 2 p.m.

  • Alexandre Mouton House- 1122 Lafayette St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    The long and distinguished history of Alexandre Mouton House dates back to the turn of the 19th century when it was built by Jean Mouton, one of the area's first settlers. From 1825 to 1836, the home was occupied by his son Alexandre, who later became the first Democratic governor of Louisiana. Today, Les Vingt-Quatre Club maintains the home as a museum featuring historical and cultural artifacts that tell the story of Lafayette's past. Alexandre Mouton House is open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students.

  • Children's Museum of Acadiana - 201 E. Congress St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Learning doesn't have to be dull. The Children's Museum of Acadiana combines the entertainment factor of games with knowledge- and skill-building in a number of valuable areas. Kids have a blast "designing" structure in Architecture Alley, caring for stuffed animals in Happy Paws Hospital, and running their own news show in Le TV des Enfants. Check the museum calendar for information about programs such as S.T.E.A.M. Kids Sundays. Admission is $7 and must be reserved online. The museum is open every day but Monday. Visit the website for times.

  • Rock 'n' Bowl - 905 Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Bowling to a musical backdrop has become a popular pastime, but this activity takes on some Lafayette flair at Rock 'n' Bowl. Live music from top local zydeco, blues, swamp pop, and country performers keeps the party going. Fuel up beforehand with dinner at Ye Olde College Inn, only steps away from Rock 'n' Bowl. The menu ranges from fried oysters and cheeseburgers to pan-seared duck breast and crawfish Delacroix. Bowling alley and restaurant hours are 4 p.m. - 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, with Ye Olde College Inn closing at 10 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday.

  • The Wurst Biergarten - 537 Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    The Wurst Biergarten might best be described as a culinary amusement park. This family- and the pet-friendly open-air venue has food trucks along with a wide assortment of local and regional craft beers. Between live music, open mic comedy, and trivia, there's always something special going on. You're also likely to find pop-up craft booths selling vintage and unique items. The Wurst Biergarten is open 4 p.m. - 1 a.m. Wednesday, 4 p.m. - 2 a.m. Thursday, noon - 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-midnight Sunday. Times may change due to weather, so check Instagram or Facebook.

Ready to buy or sell a home around Lafayette? Contact us at Latter & Blum to get started. 


6 Ways to Improve Your Home Theater System

Home Theater System

With all of the streaming options these days, people are making trips to the movie theater less often. Instead, it's common to have a media room or home theater and enjoy the big screen experience with all the comforts of home. Home theaters are a nice feature that we sometimes see in Baton Rouge homes for sale. Here are six tips for improving your home theater system.

  1. Arrange for a dedicated space.
    Many homes have a family room or media room that might be set up with a big-screen TV and surround sound, but the best home theaters our real estate agents see are the ones that are located in a dedicated space for minimal distractions. This might be a finished basement or even a spare room, as long as all the other requirements are met. 
  2. Install comfortable seating.
    Trying to recreate the movie theater experience is a lofty goal, but with seating, you actually have the ability to go above and beyond what you'd get at the theater. Sofas and reclining seats can be much more comfortable than at a true theater. If you plan to have two or more rows of seating, be sure to choose something with low backs or even consider building risers for the back rows.
  3. Minimize distractions.
    Everything about your home theater should be designed around limiting distractions, from the location to the design of the actual room. For instance, your home theater will be best located away from all the foot traffic and noise of the home. A finished basement is excellent for this reason, plus it'll block some of the noise and sound from the outside. Insulated curtains will also help. Also, consider little touches like dark paint colors and avoiding shiny fixtures.
  4. Non-intrusive lighting.
    Lighting is very important in your home theater. Dimmer switches will allow you to set the lights at whatever level you want them. Recessed lighting and soffits are a couple of options that are ideal for a home theater since they won't shine directly in the viewers' faces.
  5. Invest in superior sound.
    Now consider the sound. It's not enough just to get a big-screen TV or projector. A big picture needs a big sound to go with it, and a soundbar just isn't going to cut it if you're going for the full experience. A high-quality surround sound system will do the best job of mimicking the immersive movie theater experience.
  6. Hide cords.
    Finally, remember to make the most of the "magic" of your home theater by hiding the cords that make it all possible. You can get pretty creative about how you hide cords. There are easy DIY kits you can use to hide your cords in the wall, for instance, so that a wall-mounted big-screen TV doesn't have a bunch of ugly cords dangling from it. Hiding cords will give your home theater a finished, professional look.

Of course, the best reason to install a home theater is so that you can enjoy it yourself, but if you're handy with DIY projects and have the time to invest in it, a well-planned home theater can generate interest with buyers who love the features but wouldn't want to put one in themselves. For more information about the draw of a well-executed home theater system or other home improvement projects, contact us today.


How to Maintain Your Sanity During a Move

New Orleans Moving Tips

Moving is a very stressful event as you struggle to get everything done in time, make sure nothing falls through the cracks, and manage the physical demands of the task. Good thing all it takes is a bit of planning to make the process go smoothly. 
Our real estate agents suggest the following ways to help you maintain your sanity during a move:  

  • Decide whether you need professional movers  
    Consider how much time and effort it will take to move your belongings and how far away they'll need to be moved. Based on these answers, decide to either ask friends for help or hire professional movers. If you ask friends, go ahead and firm up a date with them, and if you need professional movers, get written estimates from three different companies.
  • Keep good records
    Get a binder or notebook to keep track of your moving timeline as well as your paperwork. Check items off your timeline as you complete them and keep paperwork such as your contract with the movers and your lease agreement or documents related to the sale of your home.
  • Budget for your move  
    It may be tempting to prioritize saving for furnishings or other items for your new home, but that's not what should come first. Instead, make sure you've budgeted for the costs of your move, including any supplies you may need to buy, renting a moving truck, or the cost of a professional mover.
  • Go through your belongings and purge what you don't need  
    There's no need to move items you no longer want into your home, so before you start to pack your belongings, sort through them and keep only what you truly need or enjoy or what holds sentimental value.
  • Start to pack – but do it in the right order  
    Start packing the belongings you don't frequently use, such as seasonal clothing and décor. The very last things to pack include your personal documents, any pet-related items, and essentials such as toiletries. Label each box with a description of its contents as well as the room you'll be putting it in at your new home.
  • Transfer your insurance and utilities   
    Make sure you have insurance arranged for your new home and set a cut-off date for utilities at your current home. Also, arrange for utilities to be turned on at your new home before your arrival.
  • Have your address changed  
    Fill out change of address forms at the Post Office to have your mail forwarded to your new home. You'll also need to change your address with agencies such as the Social Security Administration and the IRS.
  • Arrive at your new home before the movers   
    Get to your new home before the movers arrive so you can make sure all your belongings are accounted for. This also lets you direct the movers to ensure that boxes are put in the correct rooms, which makes it much easier to unpack and organize your belongings.  

Contact us at Latter & Blum if you're interested in looking at New Orleans homes for sale. We'd be happy to help you find your dream home! 


Bird Watchers Guide to Lafayette

Lafayette Bird Watching

Louisiana is a paradise for those who love nature! One of the best outdoor activities to do in the area is bird watching. With so many trails and parks within a few miles of the city center, Lafayette provides bird watchers with plenty of opportunities to spot some of the most beautiful birds in the state. If you're interested in bird watching around Lafayette, our real estate agents are here to answer your questions.

Where can I go bird watching around Lafayette?

Just one visit to Lafayette is enough to inspire you to venture into our many wonderful green spaces. Many of these protected spaces are home to a variety of plants and animals, particularly birds. Start your bird watching adventure at these four sites:

  • Atchafalaya National Heritage Area — 2022 Atchafalaya River Hwy, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
    Follow I-10 northeast out of Lafayette, and you'll hit the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area near the Atchafalaya River. The American Birding Association has a partnership with this area, and since there are over 400 species of bird in the Atchafalaya Basin, we recommend reading the ABA Birdfinding Guide series, which provides directions to the best birding areas in Lafayette and around the state.

  • Cypress Island Preserve — 1264 Prairie Hwy, St. Martinville, LA 70582
    Just east of Lafayette, Cypress Island Preserve sits on the shores of Lake Martin. Thousands of birds flock to this preserve in the winter. A 2.5-mile trail is easily accessible and offers exceptional viewing through the spring.

  • Acadiana Park Nature Station— 1205 East Alexander St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Located right outside of the city, the Acadiana Park Nature Station is a wonderful place to discover the local wildlife. There is a six-mile trail system where you can stroll through the Gulf Coastal Tallgrass Prairie and the Mississippi River Floodplain. 

For a more extensive bird-watching trek, we suggest making a weekend of one of two Louisiana Birding Trails: The Vermilion Loop and The Atchafalaya Loop. The Atchafalaya Loop is a 100-mile trail running from Baton Rouge through Lafayette then down towards Iberia. The Vermilion Loop runs south from Lafayette through Abbeville, then nearly to the Vermilion Bay.

What kind of birds and waterfowl can be found around Lafayette?

Grab your camera and get ready to snap photos in all directions. There are dozens of native species that call the Lafayette area home, including:

  • Snowy Egrets
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Anhinga
  • Wood Duck
  • Bald Eagles
  • Pileated Woodpeckers
  • Barred Owls
  • Brown Pelicans

What do I need to go bird watching around Lafayette?

Whether you're an avid bird watcher or have just taken up the activity while exploring new hobbies this year, you'll want to be prepared for your excursions. Here are a few recommend items that all bird watchers should have on them as to not run afowl of the best practices:

  • Binoculars for easy bird spotting
  • A field guide to help you identify the different species
  • A field journal where you can write your observations
  • A backpack that can fit everything you need yet still be lightweight and easy to carry
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes, preferably made from durable materials that protect you from heat and UV rays

Bird watching is a wonderful activity that you can do alone or with others. If you're also on the lookout for a new home, let us be your eyes. Contact us today to tour our best Lafayette homes for sale.


7 Things Pet Owners Need to Do Before Showings

Pet Owner Tips

It's hard to believe, but not everyone is going to love your precious Fido or Fluffy as much as you and our real estate agents do. Don't take a chance on their presence, affecting the marketability of your house. If you're a pet owner, follow these steps to prep before showing New Orleans homes for sale

  1. Mum's the Word
    While referring to your home as great for families creates interest, advertising it as "pet-friendly" can turn potential buyers off immediately. Refrain from any mention of pets in online listings and other marketing materials.

  2. Hide the Evidence
    Litter boxes, food bowls, and chewed-up toys make an unappealing visual for non-pet owners. Gather up all the physical signs of pets and stow them well out of sight. Make sure items are also removed before taking photos. 

  3. Freshen the Air
    You have most likely grown nose-blind to the scent of your pets, but a visiting buyer will detect it immediately. Your best bet is to have textiles, such as carpets and drapes, professionally cleaned. If that's not possible, choose neutral, pet-specific deodorizers rather than scented candles or air fresheners that can be almost as offensive as the actual pet smell. Enlist a friend without pets to conduct a smell test.

  4. Repair Wear and Tear
    Has your cat been using a chair leg as a scratching post? Maybe your dog has released excess energy on the door frames. Examine your home carefully for signs of pet-inflicted damage and repair or replace it as needed. Can't afford to repair hardwood floors or other costly features? Be prepared to consider alternatives, such as offering a credit toward any work that may be needed.

  5. Vacuum, Vacuum, and Vacuum Again
    According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, roughly 30 percent of Americans suffer from pet allergies. That translates to three out of every 10 people who pass through your home. Vacuum carpeting, flooring, drapes, and furniture, and dust surfaces before every showing. Focus on corners, baseboards, and other nooks and crannies that tend to attract pet hair and dander.

  6. Don't Forget the Yard 
    Domestic cats tend to remain primarily indoors, so this tip will apply mostly to dog owners. Even another pet lover won't appreciate being greeted by unsightly "surprises" deposited in the yard. But don't limit your clean-up efforts to removing doggie waste. Make sure no toys are left lying around and fill in any holes your dog has dug to hide his treasures. In addition to being eyesores, these issues can become injury hazards.

  7. Relocate Your Pet
    Temporarily, of course. It's virtually impossible to hide a pet well enough to avoid the risk of detection. Rest assured that buyers will be looking in basements, garages, laundry rooms, and every other conceivable place you might stash your dog or cat. Removing pets from the premises is also in their best interest, as they could conceivably become frightened or agitated by strangers traipsing through "their" home. Ask a friend or family member to pet-sit or get recommendations for a trustworthy pet daycare facility.

Does your family include both two- and four-legged members? Whether you're buying or selling a home, we can accommodate all your needs. Contact us at Latter & Blum to get started.


7 Ways to Upgrade Your Laundry Room

Laundry Room Upgrades

The average household does 8 to 10 loads of laundry every single week. Since your laundry room is such a high traffic area, it makes sense to upgrade the space to be more functional and aesthetically pleasing. Our real estate agents know that a charming laundry room is even attractive to potential homebuyers. Here are a few easy ways to upgrade your laundry room and make this space more appealing. 

  1. Add a Slide-Out Storage Tower
    Most laundry rooms have a little awkward space between the washer and dryer and between the appliances and the walls. Don't let this space go to waste; instead, add slide-out storage towers to these spaces. These towers are perfect for stowing laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and stain removers. 
  1. Use the Space Over Your Door for Storage
    One quandary of laundry day is that you likely have many spare hangers floating around until all your clothes are washed, dried, and hanging up. Solve this problem by installing a clothes hanger rack over your door. This cheap addition is simple to install and will increase the utility of your laundry room within minutes. You can even use it to hang up clothes that need to air dry. 
  1. Opt for a Hanging Ironing Board
    A conventional ironing board is an awkward item to store. It's big, heavy, and there's no clear place to stow it when you aren't using it. Swap your old ironing board for one that's designed to be hung on the wall or door when it isn't in use. This will free up your closet space and ensure that your ironing board always has a designated spot. 
  1. Replace Your Light Fixtures
    If your laundry room feels dark and dingy, give it an instant update by replacing your light fixtures. Before you add your home to the Lafayette homes for sale, making a few simple upgrades will help your home look its best. 
  1. Add Some Plants and Art
    Most homeowners don't think to decorate their laundry rooms, but it only takes a few pieces to transform the atmosphere of the space. With a couple of pieces of art or a lovely plant, your laundry room will be a more joyful, welcoming spot to spend time in. Feel free to add a few shelves to display some of your favorite pieces. 
  1. Incorporate Functional Furniture Into the Layout
    Depending on the size of the room, incorporate furniture that makes it more convenient for you to use your laundry room. A large table makes a perfect spot to quickly fold a load of laundry. Or, if you have a little more space, a cozy sitting chair provides an excellent area to read or work while you wait for a load to dry. 
  1. Rethink Your Laundry Sorting System
    Revamp your laundry sorting system so that it works better for your family. For example, if you have a large family, you might invest in a cube unit and purchase a laundry basket for each family member. This will make it easier for you to sort the laundry based on who it belongs to. Then, the family member just has to grab their basket when it's time to put their laundry away. 

Ready to purchase a home with a large laundry room? Contact us today to get started!


5 Free Things to do Near New Orleans

Free Things to do in New Orleans

The Big Easy has so much to see and do. You could spend years eating and exploring your way through the city. Although there are plenty of attractions worth the price of admission, New Orleans has its share of budget-friendly activities that will delight residents and visitors alike. Our real estate agents encourage you to check out these five free things to do near New Orleans.

  1. New Orleans Museum of Art – 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, City Park, New Orleans, LA 70124
    NOMA, the New Orleans Museum of Art, is a favorite destination for many locals. Their rotating exhibitions and extensive collections can't be missed! However, if you're looking for a free way to appreciate art, head behind NOMA to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, where you can stroll the tree-lined paths and admire over 60 sculptures created by world-famous artists. Admission is free all year, except holidays.

  2. The Canal Street Ferry – Near 1 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130
    Get a new view of New Orleans by taking a ride on the Canal Street Ferry. Also known as the Algiers Ferry, this boat takes you down the Mississippi for the best views of the city. It will cruise you from the French Quarter to Algiers Point, where you can enjoy Confetti Park, stroll the Algiers Bike Path, or visit the many bars, cafes, and shops around. The Canal Street Ferry operates seven days a week, with the first ferry departures launching between 6 AM and 10:45 AM and ending between 9:30 PM and 11:45 PM.

  3. Explore Uptown & The Garden District
    One of the best free things to do in New Orleans is to explore the city on foot. The vibrant communities hold hidden gems for wanderers who don't mind venturing off the beaten path. Two of the coolest neighborhoods to explore are Uptown and the Garden District. Uptown is a wonderful place to shop and admire historic architecture while the Garden District hosts mansions where you can also take a self-guided walking tour of the area.

  4. St. Louis Cathedral – 615 Pere Antoine Alley, Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA 70116
    The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis King of France overlooks bustling Jackson Square. It is the United States' oldest Catholic Cathedral that continues to operate. Take a step back in history by visiting the Old Ursuline Convent Museum, the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley, or stop by St. Mary's Church next door, which actually predates St. Louis Cathedral.

  5. Crescent City Farmers Markets/Market Umbrella – 200 Broadway St., Suite 107, New Orleans, LA 70118
    If you want to explore the city, surround yourself with local goods, and get to know your neighbors, a stop at the Crescent City Farmers Markets/Market Umbrella is ideal. These local markets sprout up around town, including in Uptown Square, Bucktown Harbor, and Parkway Bakery and Tavern. Check their schedule to see which vendors, musical guests, and specials will be at each market from week to week.

Would you love to live in one of NOLA's vibrant communities? We can help you find a place surrounded by the best Crescent City has to offer. Contact us today to schedule tours of our New Orleans homes for sale.


The Most Important Rooms to Stage When Listing Your Home

Staging Rooms

Room staging is one of the most important parts of the home selling process. With digital marketplaces playing such a large role in the real estate market these days, good pictures of properly staged rooms can make all the difference for your listing. Studies have actually shown that room staging can also lead to an increased offer value from prospective buyers. 

The process of properly staging a room is both an art and a science, and it's important to do it right. For many sellers, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, our real estate agents are experts at room staging and can provide tips. Below are some of the most important rooms to stage when listing your home for sale.

The Living Room

The living room is arguably the most important room to stage. Not only is it where many families spend most of their time, but it's also often one of the first rooms potential homebuyers see when viewing a home. Make sure to have the carpet professionally cleaned and remove personalized items like souvenirs and photographs. Add a few minimal decorations such as flowers or neutral artwork. If your living room is small, consider opening shades or blinds in order to maximize light exposure, as this will help the room appear larger. 

The Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so make it as attractive as possible to potential homebuyers. The key is to make your kitchen appear bright, sparkly, and clean. Consider having the room professionally cleaned before listing your home for sale. If you're looking to create a cozier look, consider adding an eat-in table with chairs or a kitchen rug. Be sure to remove all clutter except for a few decorative items (think flowers or a tea kettle). If you have the budget, consider updating your appliances as well.

The Master Bedroom

It's no surprise that the master bedroom is one of the most important rooms to stage when listing your home for sale. One of the keys to staging it is to keep things as neutral as possible. You want to allow prospective buyers to be able to envision themselves living in the space. Avoid any themes, as these can ultimately be distracting. Make sure to clean out closets and go out of your way to show off organization and storage. Also, be sure to keep most personal items out of sight. When it comes to the bed, decorative pillows and throw blankets can go a long way -- just be sure to use softer colors. Try to optimize the room's light exposure by keeping blinds and curtains open. Mirrors can also give off the appearance of depth.

The Bathroom

A well-organized bathroom can really help the staging process. Prospective buyers will be opening closets, so make sure to use stylish drawers, organizers, and hanging shelves to organize toiletries. Remove any personal items like toothbrushes or bath towels. Most importantly, make sure sinks, counters, floors, tubs, shower curtains, and mirrors are sparkling clean. Spring for a decorative, fluffy bath mat or a small rug for the middle of the room.

Staging your home can have a huge impact. For more inspiration on beautifully staged homes, check out these Lake Charles homes for sale or contact us today.


How to Better Organize Your Kitchen

Organized Kitchen

Since the kitchen is known as the heart of the home, making sure it's organized is extra important. A cluttered kitchen not only makes preparing meals a hassle, but it can also turn away potential buyers. 

Get rid of kitchen clutter by better organizing your space. Our real estate agents encourage you to use these tips to organize your kitchen.

  • Use Pull-Out Cabinet Drawers & Organizers
    Cabinets are often cluttered, preventing you from accessing (or even remembering) what's inside. Organize your cabinets by pulling everything out and installing pull-out drawers and inner-door organizers. These two cheap, yet effective resources make it effortless to retrieve whatever you need.

  • Drawer Dividers
    Like cabinets, drawers are another culprit of clutter. Thankfully, they can also be affordably organized with drawer dividers. While most use them solely for the silverware drawer, integrating different sizes into all of your drawers can help keep them organized. These are especially helpful for "junk drawers" full of miscellaneous items.

  • Use Lazy Susans
    Whether you're working in the cabinets or pantry, a lazy Susan can be an invaluable asset to your organizational needs. From spices and seasonings to sauces, cans, and bottles, a lazy Susan is an easy and efficient way to quickly browse through your kitchen staples.

  • Clear Containers
    Unfortunately, lazy Susans won't solve all of your pantry problems. Many odd-sized items or loose items that come in boxes can be easily contained in another helpful resource: clear storage containers. Clear containers are great for storing a variety of common pantry items. Not only can they keep foods like pasta or cereal fresh, but they can also make it easy to organize and view foods like snacks for kids, exercise supplements and power bars, or single-serve type foods.

  • Group Like Items Together
    Regardless if you use lazy Susans, clear containers, or another form of storage, it's important that you try to organize items into similar groups. Keeping food and supplies contained in groups makes them easy to access and keep organized. Be sure to apply this technique to your appliances and specialty devices as well. For instance, keep your baking supplies together in one area and your barbequing supplies together in another.

  • Arrange Items By Use
    With so much to organize, you must make sure that accessibility is a priority. One challenge to achieving this is ensuring that lesser-used items don't block frequently used items. Place seldom-used items in harder to reach places such as top shelves or bottom cabinets, so your most used items are always at hand.

  • Consider a Handy Cart or Serving Tray
    If you find yourself running out of room in the cabinets or pantry, you can cleverly use carts or serving trays that double as décor and storage options. For example, keeping your baking or barbequing supplies on a wheeled cart keeps them organized and easy to wheel over to the oven or grill when you need them. A tray can provide the same convenience: keeping supplies for coffee, tea, or cocktails on a tray is an attractive counter piece that can be instantly transported from room to room.

  • Ditch Unused Items
    One of the most important tips in kitchen organization is knowing when to toss unused items. Appliances that collect dust, such as cake trays or fondue sets, maybe taking up space despite being unused for years. Know when it's time to remove these items for the things you really need.  

Are you searching for a house with a kitchen and dining area perfect for entertaining? We can help. Contact us today to tour our spacious Alexandria homes for sale.


What to Know When Buying a Home in a Different State

Buying a Home in a New State

Whether you're moving for a great new job, picking the perfect place for your family, or simply making a long-distance move to a city you've always dreamed of calling home, there are many good reasons to move to a different state. There are also some challenges with long-distance home shopping, but technology, research, and the right real estate agent can help you overcome those obstacles. Our real estate agents know what it takes to find the perfect home from a distance, and we've got some tips to help you get started.

  1. Take Advantage of Technology to Tour Homes from Afar
    So you're shopping for Lafayette homes for sale, but your current location is nowhere near the city... no problem! Virtual tours and virtual open houses are now available in nearly every market where you might be shopping. Take advantage of these technological tools to get a detailed impression of any home that catches your eye, no matter where you're currently located.

  2. Invest Time in Researching Neighborhoods 
    Loving your new home for the long haul is much easier when you also love the neighborhood where the home is located. Invest some research time in learning everything you can about neighborhoods in your target markets, focusing on the factors that matter most to you.

  3. Choose a Real Estate Agent Who Understands Long-Distance Purchases
    The right buyer's agent can take so much of the guesswork out of shopping for a home in a different state and help you handle the logistical details of a long-distance purchase. Look for a real estate agent who has experience with out of state purchases.

  4. Learn the Real Estate Rules in Your Target Markets
    Different states and communities have different regulations for real estate purchases, so make sure you understand the rules in the places where you're shopping. There may be different requirements for earnest money deposits, closing time-frames, home inspections, and more, so it helps to be prepared.

  5. Research Real Estate Markets to See How Much Home You Can Purchase
    Every real estate market is different, so you might find that your real estate budget stretches much farther in some communities than others. The right real estate agent can give you a detailed impression of your target markets, so you know exactly how much home you'll be able to afford and how the asking prices for homes that catch your eye fit within the local market.

  6. Consider the Cost of Living When Choosing a Community
    While the cost of the home is a key factor, the cost of living in your target markets will also have a major impact on your budget. Researching the cost of living will help you decide whether a neighborhood is the right fit for your budget.

  7. Try to Attend the Home Inspection If Possible
    If you can only attend one thing in person, the home inspection is a great choice. The home inspector can answer questions, tell you about smaller issues that won't affect the sale, and give you a deeper impression of the home's condition.

  8. Can't Close in Person? No Problem
    Attending the closing in person is a good thing if you can manage it, but it's certainly not a requirement. Remote closings are more popular than ever, and technology makes it possible to close on a home no matter where you're currently located.

Whether you're shopping from across the city or across the country, our team is here to help you find your next home. Contact us today.


Agent Spotlight: Brigitte Fredy


Brigitte Fredy has made a name for herself in the New Orleans residential market over the last 30+ years, and it's clear to see why. With her passion and dedication to her career, she has built an expansive network of happy clients and earned herself Top of the Latter for decades – Latter & Blum's most prestigious award presented annually to the top-producing real estate agents across all markets.

Born in Paris, France – Brigitte has always had an eye for beautiful architecture, which naturally led her to specialize in historic properties in downtown, uptown and the French Quarter of New Orleans. Licensed in 1983, Brigitte started off her real estate career with Latter & Blum and is still with the company to this day as one of the top-producing agents. From helping clients buy their first home, second home and even third home, more of Brigitte's wide-ranging specialties include home staging, luxury condos and investment properties. Trilingual in English, French and Spanish, Brigitte's background and decades of expertise in historical properties allows her to help prospective home buyers and sellers from all walks of life. 

With all of her success, Brigitte didn't get where she is today on accident. She credits her hard work, patience and flexibility as the key to her success and what helped shape her into the top-producing real estate agent she is today. Offering advice to new real estate agents, Brigitte says it's important to start as early as you can, being a successful Realtor requires a lot of time, energy and work. Her favorite part of the job? Having the flexibility to create her own work schedule, which in turn creates a good balance in her life.

When Brigitte isn't basking in the thrill of navigating a successful real estate transaction, you can probably find her cooking some delicious cuisine in her downtown condo, exercising or entertaining clients and friends. She also owns an apartment in Paris, perks of all her hard work and dedication.
















In the market for a home in New Orleans? Contact Brigitte for all your real estate needs.


5 Bakeries in Baton Rouge Your Sweet Tooth will Love

Baton Rouge Bakeries

If you've been in the area looking at Baton Rouge homes for sale, you've probably noticed that there's no shortage of great dining options here! In addition to the huge variety of upscale and casual restaurants, Baton Rouge is also known for its outstanding bakeries. 

Our real estate agents often enjoy stopping by their favorite local shops for a cup of coffee and a sweet treat. Here are a few that you'll want to check out. 

  1. Les Amis Bake Shoppe: 11826 Coursey Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70816
    For specialty desserts in an array of both traditional and unique flavors, you can't go wrong with Les Amis Bake Shoppe. They offer a diverse selection of cake balls and cupcakes in flavors that change each week. They also sell cake and cheesecake by the slice, which is perfect for those sweet cravings. Some of the incredible cake flavors you'll find here include Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel (their signature cake!), Strawberry Silk, Coconut Cream, German Chocolate, and Mocha Espresso. Whether you need a custom cake for a special occasion or just want to satisfy your sweet tooth, you'll find exactly what you're looking for here. 
  1. Baum's Fine Pastries & Chocolate: 8046 Florida Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    A Baton Rouge tradition since 1934, Baum's Fine Pastries and Chocolate is the go-to option for cake and pastry delivery. They specialize in birthday and wedding cakes, but you don't need a special occasion to order their delicious confections. To order, simply visit their website, scroll through their photo gallery, and send them a picture of the treats you want. They'll create them for you and deliver them right to your door! 
  1. Cake Goddess: 14241 Airline Hwy, Ste 108, Baton Rouge, LA 70817
    Cake Goddess creates stunning custom cakes for all types of special occasions. Browse through their Facebook page, and you'll be blown away by their cake decorating skills! The best thing is, the cakes taste just as great as they look! You can also stop by the bakery at any time to enjoy a variety of tasty treats. You'll love their unique cupcake creations with flavors Banana Foster, Pina Colada, and S'mores. 
  1. Rosch Bakehaus: The Garden District, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    If you love fresh-baked bread, you'll definitely want to check out Rosch Bakehaus. This "cottage bakery" specializes in small-batch handcrafted bread (including sweetbreads and sourdough), traditional pretzel bread, pastries, custom cakes, and German-style pretzels. They use only unbleached flour, organic cage-free eggs, and organic, local, and seasonal produce whenever possible. You can visit their site, order online, and pick up your treats on the day you choose. It's super convenient and will soon become one of your favorite places to visit! 
  1. Cupcake Junkie: 12240 Coursey Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70816
    Are you a cupcake fanatic? If so, you're going to love Cupcake Junkie! They specialize in "boldly decadent" cupcakes made from premium ingredients. The offerings vary each day, but some of the amazing cupcake flavors you might find there include Pineapple Cream Cheese, Strawberry Lemonade, Peach Cobbler, and Key Lime Cheesecake. In addition to cupcakes, they also offer cakes, cake slices, cookies, brownies, lemon bars, and "Junkie Juice." Place a custom order or stop by and browse their daily selection, either way, you're sure to leave happy! 

Are you looking for a sweet deal on a new home? There are a lot of great options on the market right now. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 


Biking Routes and Trails in Cajun Country

Biking Routes

Cajun Country is scenic no matter how you choose to explore it, and riding the trails is a great way to see the area from a different perspective. Whether you're an experienced rider looking for a challenging trail or you're searching for a scenic, leisurely trail to ride on a Sunday afternoon, Cajun Country offers a little bit of everything. Of course, the best trails also feature plenty of places to stop for food and fun along the way. Our real estate agents know Cajun Country, and we've got 6 biking routes that you won't want to miss.

  1. Houma to Cocodrie – Winn Dixie Shopping Center at Hwy 24 and Prospect Blvd., Houma, LA 70517
    Beginning in Houma, the Houma to Cocodrie route lasts for 31 miles, with a variety of entry/exit points throughout the route. See Houma homes for sale from a whole new perspective! The scenery really picks up around the 5-mile mark of the route, if you start from the Winn Dixie Shopping Center. You'll travel along the waterfront, where you'll see fishing boats in action, then make a trip through quiet, peaceful marshes before ending your ride in Cocodrie.

  2. Lafayette to Opelousas – North University Ave., Lafayette, LA 70506
    The Lafayette to Opelousas route actually consists of three separate routes, with varying distances, scenery, and terrain. For a shorter ride, try the 20-mile red route, which travels along North University Ave. through Lafayette, before heading north to Opelousas. The blue route is a bit longer at 30 miles, while the green route checks in at a healthy 50 miles.

  3. Atchafalaya Basin Wilderness Trail – 1050 Henderson Levee Rd., Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
    With more than 50 miles of trails to ride along the top of the levee, the Atchafalaya Basin Wilderness Trail features outstanding scenery and plenty of room to stretch your legs. The first half of the trail is paved, and the rest is gravel. There are no cars or trucks allowed on this trail, so it's a great place for a long, relaxing ride.

  4. Houma to Thibodaux Loop – Intersection of Hwy 311 and Mystic Blvd., Houma, LA 70360
    Looking to explore nature while you ride? The 50-plus mile Houma to Thibodaux Loop will take you past a historic cypress swamp, and passes a variety of local museums where you can learn more about Cajun Country. Wildlife Gardens is an especially popular stop for nature lovers.

  5. Chicot State Park – 3469 Chicot Park Rd., Ville Platte, LA 70586
    Open year-round with more than 6,000 acres to explore, the Chicot State Park trail is one of the best spots on our list for natural scenery. The trail travels around Lake Chicot, where you can stop to fish or simply enjoy the view. The terrain is easier to navigate in dry conditions but requires the right equipment when the weather is wet.

  6. Bayou Black Loop – Intersection of Hwy 311 and Mystic Blvd., Houma, LA 70360
    Beginning at the same point as the Houma to Thibodaux Loop, the Bayou Black Loop is another favorite for Houma residents. If you're riding this loop, be sure to bring your appetite. There are many great places to stop for a meal along the way, whether you're in the mood for fresh seafood or classic Cajun cooking. 

Still searching for your next home in Cajun Country? Our local real estate team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Houma, LA area.


Lafayette in Bloom: Botanical Gardens to Visit

Lafayette Botanical Garden

Want to spend some time outdoors to relax after comparing the best Lafayette homes for sale?

Our real estate agents enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to rock climbing. We know that sometimes you just want to stop and smell the roses – or other flowers. Luckily, the natural beauty of Lafayette will never let you down. There are plenty of places to see brilliant flowers in bloom. One of them could be your own backyard!

If you need other ideas, we have them. Lafayette and the surrounding cities are filled with a variety of botanical gardens, arboretums, parks, and many more. Let's drop in for a quick visit to some of the best gardens in Lafayette and the neighboring communities.

Here are just a few of your options for local gardens and nature centers:

  1. Acadian Village and Gardens – 200 Greenleaf Drive, Lafayette, LA 70506
    Acadian Village and Gardens is found right in Lafayette and boasts a historic experience that brings you back to an 1800s-era village. It sits on ten acres of land that has been lovingly restored with all kinds of period houses, shops, and more. Dotted throughout the property, you'll find a number of gardens that use actual historic methods for cultivation. They look particularly lovely this time of year!
  2. Ira S. Nelson Horticulture Center – 2206 Johnston Street, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Located on the campus of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, the Ira S. Nelson Horticulture Center houses a whole rainbow of ornamental plants. As you venture over the land, you'll have the opportunity to visit about 24,000 square feet of greenhouses dedicated to research and conservation. It's a wonderful way to learn more about the flowers and plants here in Louisiana.
  3. Rip Van Winkle Garden – 5505 Rip Van Winkle Road, New Iberia, LA
    The Rip Van Winkle Gardens are found not far from some enticing New Iberia homes for sale. Only a few minutes from Lafayette, these gardens are named in honor of an actor who once played the iconic slumbering character. A semi-tropical garden and preserve, the estate sprawls across 25 lush acres beside beautiful Lake Peigneur. It is also known as Live Oaks Garden.
  4. Windrush Gardens – 4600 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    Located on the campus of Louisiana State University, Windrush Gardens is a true sight to behold. A little further afield in Lafayette's sister city, known for remarkable Baton Rouge homes for sale, the garden is a refreshing oasis. With winding paths across 25 acres, every inch has been landscaped to underscore the beauty of hardy plants that create a sensory experience through their striking forms and textures.

Lafayette is in bloom, and there's never been a better time to see it for yourself. Contact us at Latter & Blum to find out more about the local or for help with your real estate questions.


Museum Tour in New Orleans: All About NOLA Museums

NOLA Museums

When it comes to New Orleans homes for sale, there are plenty of reasons to choose the "Big Easy" for your next home. New Orleans culture is truly unique, from the cuisine to the music to the unbeatable annual festivals like Mardi Gras. Education soars, too, thanks to terrific museums!

Our real estate agents are confident that no matter what your interests are, you'll have a chance to find something great here in New Orleans. 

In fact, New Orleans even has its own thriving museum district. You'll find many of the most notable local museums centered within a short distance of each other in the inimitable City Park. 

Let's take a closer look at some of the area's top museums:

  1. The National World War II Museum – 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
    The National World War II Museum is one of the most recognizable of the nation's monuments to "the war to end all wars," featuring exhibits that uplift the stories of real people on the Western Front, the Eastern Front, and the homefront. The D-Day Invasion exhibit is the most popular year-round.
  2. New Orleans Museum of Art – 1 Collins Diboll Circle, New Orleans, LA 70124
    As the name suggests, the New Orleans Museum of Art is the city's premier art museum and the oldest in New Orleans. Explore the permanent collection of about 40,000 items, and don't miss the breathtaking pieces in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
  3. New Orleans Pharmacy Museum – 514 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
    Four minutes from the beloved Jackson Square sits the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. Formerly an actual apothecary operating in the 1820s, it is packed with historical examples of early medicines and cure-alls. It also hosts lectures, live events, and the occasional wedding.
  4. Mardi Gras World – 1380 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans, LA 70130
    Prepare to be astonished! Mardi Gras World is the stellar place to experience "Fat Tuesday" at any time of year. This massive workshop and storage unit is the spot where floats are fabricated for the big day. It occupies a prime position on the Mississippi, beside Morial Convention Center.
  5. Louisiana Children's Museum – 15 Henry Thomas Drive, New Orleans, LA 70124
    The award-winning Louisiana Children's Museum features 30,000 square feet of exciting exhibits, many of them interactive. Some of its top attractions include a climbing wall and an art studio. Kids of all ages from tots to teens have the opportunity to explore self-paced experiences on fascinating topics.
  6. New Orleans Jazz Museum – 400 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116
    Saving the best for last, the New Orleans Jazz Museum pays homage to one of the most iconic parts of New Orleans' unique identity. Located in the New Orleans Mint, it has exhibits that explore the growth of the New Orleans sound and showcase art that arose in the city's golden age of jazz.

Amazing museums are one more reason to make New Orleans your home. Contact us to learn more or get started.


5 Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails Near Baton Rouge

Hiking Trails Baton Rouge

Are you looking for a way to get your kids off the couch? Gathering up the entire family and heading out to some of the area's beautiful nature trails is a great way to get everybody's heart pumping and get some fresh air. 

Many of our real estate agents have started spending their weekends visiting local hiking trails with their families. Here are a few of their favorite kid-friendly options you'll want to explore. 

  1. Learning Tree Trail: LSU Botanical Gardens Steele Forest - 4560 Essen Ln, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    Learning Tree Trail is a super-easy trail. It's a half-mile loop that sees moderate foot traffic. Here you'll find lots of beautiful wildflowers and opportunities for birdwatching and spotting other wildlife. The wildlife placards located throughout the trail are a great way to combine education and exercise. The kids are sure to love stopping to learn more about some of the animals they may see.  
  1. Black Swamp Trail: LSU Botanical Gardens Steele Forest - 4560 Essen Ln, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    The Black Swamp Trail is located near the interstate right in the heart of Baton Rouge. This makes it a great place to explore after spending the morning looking at Baton Rouge homes for sale. It's a 2.2-mile out-and-back trail that offers plenty of shade, crushed rock paths, and a wooden bridge that goes through a swamp. This trail also has plenty of placards for the kids to read and benches to sit and rest if you want to take a break. 
  1. Barton Arboretum Loop: LSU Botanical Arboretum Loop - 4560 Essen Ln, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    The 2.3-mile Barton Arboretum Loop is an easy trail with light traffic. It's well-kept and very shaded. There's a lake along the trail and a wide variety of plant life. Your kids will enjoy this "storytime trail" that allows them to read a book as they walk around. The little chapel with a pulpit and benches offers an unexpected surprise that everyone is sure to enjoy. 
  1. Arrowwood Trail: Kendalwood Conservation Area - 24700 Kendalwood Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70817
    If you want to get some substantial exercise, gather up the family and head out to the 3.0-mile Arrowwood Trail. This loop is lightly trafficked. It features a river and is great for catching a glimpse of wildlife, including plenty of banana spiders and a few snakes. Despite the length, it's an easy trail to walk with minimal elevation. This makes it a perfect adventure for the entire family.
  1. Hardwood Forest Loop Trail: Frenchtown Road Conservation Area - 17819 Frenchtown Rd, Greenwell Springs, LA 70739
    Perfect for nature trips and bird watching, Hardwood Forest Loop Trail features a river, forest, and plenty of beautiful wildflowers. This 2.1-mile loop is moderately trafficked and the perfect length for when you only have an hour or so to enjoy your hike. The dirt trail runs through a fairly dense forest. Along the way, you'll come across an interesting section of giant bamboo. There's also two rivers, a beach area, and a swamp. Your kids may also enjoy getting a look at the train, which often passes by. 

Beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor adventures are just a few of the reasons why so many people love living here! If you're looking for your dream home in the Baton Rouge area, we can help. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 


7 Things We Love About Living in Lafayette

Living in Lafayette

Thinking about a move to Lafayette? Get ready to enjoy some great Cajun and Creole cuisine, southern hospitality, and a variety of live entertainment. In addition to a unique culture, The Hub City also has a good local economy and low housing costs, which make it a great place to settle down and start a family. Our real estate agents compiled the top 7 things that love about living in Lafayette. 

  1. The Warm Weather
    If you dislike cold weather, then Lafayette is the place for you. Those who enjoy the great outdoors can bike, hike, boat, or camp nearly all year round. Summers can be a bit steamy, but fall, winter, and spring can often be very comfortable. While summer is hurricane season, Lafayette is far enough from the coast that it can usually avoid the most severe impacts from large storms.
  2. Trying New Restaurants
    If you're a fan of Cajun food, you'll never run out of new restaurants to try in Lafayette. Cajun restaurant food tours will give you the best opportunity to experience a number of the best, most authentic Cajun, and Creole restaurants in the area. Not only will you get to taste authentic gumbo to fresh seafood, but you'll also have a chance to learn more about the area's rich history. 
  3. It's Bike-Friendly 
    Over the last 10 years, biking has become an increasingly popular way to get around town. Many major city streets are now equipped with bike lanes, and the Atakapa-Ishak Trail connects Lafayette to many nearby towns and neighborhoods.
  4. Strong Job Market
    Lafayette has a strong local economy, which makes it a great place for young professionals to establish a career. Oil & gas, healthcare, and education are some of the city's leading industries, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Lafayette Regional Medical center are two of the area's largest employers.
  5. Rich, Deep-Rooted Culture
    There is no shortage of art and culture in Lafayette. The must-see Vermilionville Historical Village is a 23-acre park dedicated to the history of Cajun, Creole, and indigenous culture. The Acadiana Center for the Arts is one of the top art and culture centers in the area, while the Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana is a great place to see work from both local and international artists. The Lafayette Science Museum & Planetarium also offers a variety of exhibits and a completely digital planetarium. 
  6. Live Music is Everywhere
    Live music and dancing are deeply ingrained in the southern Louisiana culture. With live music at so many restaurants, bars, and venues across the city, you won't have to travel far to hear a wide variety of live performances. The city also hosts the Festival Internationale de Louisiane, a free four-day music festival with great music and the best Cajun food.
  7. Experience Mardi Gras
    New Orleans isn't the only Louisiana city that knows how to celebrate Mardi Gras. Lafayette's celebrations include up to five days' worth of parades. Masked balls and parties are commonly held throughout the season in various neighborhoods across the city.

Lafayette is a unique, beautiful place to live, but the best way to experience it is to see for yourself. While you're visiting the area, be sure to check out some of these beautiful Lafayette homes for sale. For more information on what it's like to live in the Hub City, contact us today!


Shop Local: Baton Rouge Farmers Markets

Baton Rouge Farmers Markets

Are you focusing more on healthy eating these days? Start with quality ingredients for meals that are good for your body and taste buds. Find fresh fruit, vegetables, and more at these great farmers markets, just minutes from Baton Rouge homes for sale

  1. Fresh Pickin's Market - 10375 Coursey Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70816
    In 1993, friends Paul Ferachi and Russell Saia wanted a way to provide the community with fresh produce at low prices. The result was Fresh Pickin's Market, which offers "14 Carrot Produce" directly from farmers and shippers. By sidestepping distribution centers, Fresh Pickin's is able to sell a wide selection of items at affordable prices. In addition, more than 50 varieties of fresh-frozen fruits and vegetables are available to enjoy year-round. Use the Waitr app for delivery or curbside pickup. 

  2. Southside Produce Market - 8240 Perkins Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810
    For Harry and Andy, father-and-son co-founders of Southside Produce Market, selling fruits and vegetables runs in the family. Harry's father opened the first fresh fruit stand in Baton Rouge back in the 1930s. Today, Harry and Andy operate the largest hybrid produce market in the South. One-touch of a button takes the 28,000 square-foot facility from an open-air market to an indoor climate-controlled shop. Southside supports local farmers by participating in the "Louisiana Grown, Real Fresh" program.

  3. Red Stick Farmers Market - 501 Main St., Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    The first farmers market in Baton Rouge originated as a student project? Yes, Red Stick Farmers Market was developed as part of LSU student Chris Company's master's thesis. Originally located in the parking lot of the downtown government building, Red Stick moved to Main Street Market in 2002 when they joined forces with the Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance, or BREADA. Each Saturday from 8 a.m. - noon, Red Stick sells locally-grown produce, artisan food products, and prepared meals along with staging cooking demonstrations. Red Stick also has a year-round site on Thursdays from 8 a.m. - noon at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and a seasonal location on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. - noon at the EBRP Main Library.

  4. Sprouts Farmers Market - 4841 Rouzan Square Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    For years, big-name supermarkets carried mostly national brands and processed foods. Healthy, organic foods were hard to find and expensive to purchase. That changed with the opening of Sprouts Family Market, which is dedicated to making healthy eating accessible and affordable for all. At Sprouts, you'll find the highest quality produce, meats and seafood, baked goods, dairy products, and bulk foods. Stop by the deli counter for convenient prepared meals and ready-to-eat soups, salads, and sandwiches. Hours are 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily.

  5. Grow Dirt - 1947 Cunard St., Baton Rouge, LA 70807
    How fresh is the produce from Grow Dirt? Their motto is, "If it don't come out the dirt, it ain't food!" Grow Dirt uses a "pop-up" format to sell fruits and vegetables grown in their own garden, which also serves as a community teaching tool. Order the weekly "Fresh Box" or select à la carte items. Want to plant your own garden? Grow Dirt has plants, seeds, and supplies to get you started. Market hours are 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday.

Let our real estate agents help you plant roots in a new home. Contact us at Latter & Blum for all your Baton Rouge real estate needs.


Lafayette Named One of the Best Cities for Indoor/Outdoor Living

Indoor Outdoor Living

Our REALTORS® are excited to announce that Lafayette has been named one of the best cities for indoor/outdoor living. Ranked #7 on a top-ten list including other desirable U.S. cities like Naples, Phoenix, and Medford, Lafayette contains a high percentage of home listings with features that conveniently accommodate indoor/outdoor living. 

Lafayette: One of the Best Cities for Indoor/Outdoor Living

Anyone who's set foot in Lafayette has certainly been captivated by the culture, cuisine, and community created by the city's location in Cajun and Creole Country. Lafayette's frequently mentioned as a wonderful place to live, with it being named one of the Happiest Cities in America and one of the top growing cities where millennials are purchasing a property. We're hardly surprised to discover how well-suited Lafayette is for indoor/outdoor living:

  • Over 54% of listings in Lafayette include outdoor amenities.
  • Nearly 40% of listings in Lafayette feature patio space.
  • Almost 20% of listings have a pool.
  • Average prices for homes in Lafayette that have outdoor amenities or features is $265,000

Living in Lafayette means backyard barbeques and boils, suntanning and stargazing, poolside dining, and parties on the patio. Each year, Lafayette is greeted with an average of 217 sunny days, above the U.S. average of 205. Although the city does see higher-than-average rainfall, 62 inches per year compared to the national average of 38 inches per year, Lafayette's warm annual weather prevents snow from falling.

Throughout the year, residents of Lafayette are treated to temperates in the 90s and 70s during the summer and winter temperatures hovering between the mid-40s and mid-60s. These annual temperatures are ideal for homes featuring indoor/outdoor living amenities.

Outdoor fireplaces or fire pits and four-seasons rooms with a furnace make even the chilliest winters enjoyable cozy outdoors. During the peak of summer, outdoor kitchens, covered patios with ceiling fans, and refreshing pools make it effortless to enjoy the sunshine and shade comfortably no matter how high the temperatures climb.

If you're searching for a new home in the Hub City, we recommend that you tour a home with indoor/outdoor amenities and discover how well a transitional space suits you.

Benefits of Indoor/Outdoor Living

There are many benefits of owning a home that offers indoor/outdoor living space. Although this trend has been gaining popularity over the last two decades, indoor/outdoor living spaces can be found in civilizations dating back thousands of years. If you've ever visited a home with such transitional spaces, then you're already familiar with the many benefits indoor/outdoor spaces provide, including:

  • Increased airflow to cool and refresh your home.
  • More natural lighting.
  • Expanded living spaces.
  • Greater space for hosting guests and entertaining.
  • Opportunities to install unique amenities like outdoor kitchens and poolside cabanas.
  • Potential increases in home value.
  • The ability to enjoy the outdoors comfortable no matter the season.

With such wonderful weather throughout the year, owning a home in Lafayette with exceptional indoor/outdoor spaces is a wise investment. If you'd like to discover the many Lafayette homes for sale featuring pools, sunrooms, outdoor fireplaces or kitchens, and patios perfect enough to create your own luxurious staycation, contact us today to begin your search!


7 Natural Remedies for Eliminating Summer Bugs

Natural Pest Removal

One of the few downsides of warm summer temperatures is that they create a prime environment for insects. While most Alexandria homes for sale have to deal with some type of summer bug, you don't have to agree to share your home with creepy crawlies. Keep summer pests from crashing your fun with these natural remedies. 

  1. A Homemade Fly Trap
    If flies rush your home every time you leave an unscreened door or window open for a few minutes, fight back with a homemade fly trap. You only need a few simple supplies to make your trap:
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Floral dish soap
    • Plastic wrap
    • A rubber band
    • An empty jar
    Put an inch of apple cider vinegar in the jar. Then, add a few drops of dish soap. Cover the top with your plastic wrap and secure it with your rubber band. Add a few holes to the plastic wrap, and your homemade fly trap is ready to go. Our real estate agents suggest using this trap a few days before a showing to ensure your kitchen is fly-free. Make sure to remove any traps before your scheduled showings. 
  1. A Homemade Cockroach Trap
    A single cockroach is enough to scatter your friends and family. Quickly remove cockroaches from your home with a homemade cockroach trap. Rinse out an empty wine bottle and add a layer of syrup to the bottom. Put cooking oil around the top of the bottle. The cockroaches will be able to get into the bottle, but they won't be able to get out.
  1. Coffee Grounds
    The grounds from your morning coffee are an effective all-purpose pest deterrent. Put the grounds around the pest's entry points. Thanks to the pungent aroma of the coffee grounds, the pests will avoid your home. 
  1. Cornmeal
    Nobody wants ants at a picnic or in their kitchen. If you spot ants, sprinkle cornmeal where they're gathering. The ants will take the cornmeal back to their colony and eat it. However, ants can't digest cornmeal, and it will kill them. 
  1. Fresh Herbs
    Having a summer bonfire? Keep mosquitoes from gathering around the campfire by sprinkling some fresh herbs into the fire. Sage and rosemary are two top choices to prevent these pests from biting your family during your cookout. 
  1. Salt
    A flea infestation is tricky to control. Not only do you have to take steps to remove the fleas from your pets, but you need to treat any soft surfaces where the fleas may be living. Salt is a cheap, natural way to remove fleas from your carpets, upholstery, and bedding. Sprinkle the salt on the affected areas and leave it for a day. It will dehydrate and kill the fleas. You can then use a vacuum to remove the salt and the fleas. 
  1. Baking Soda
    If your summer travels have added more than a few cool souvenirs to your home, baking soda is a simple way to kill unwanted visitors. It's especially effective at killing bed bugs. Once the baking soda hits the bed bugs, it removes moisture from their bodies and kills them. Cover the infected areas with baking soda and wait an hour or so. Then, vacuum up all of the baking soda. You'll want to repeat the process every day for a few days.

Keeping your home and garden pest-free will help you make the most of the summer months! Was a new home part of your summer plans? Contact us today to learn more about other properties for sale.


5 Things to Consider When Picking a Neighborhood

New Neighborhood

There are whimsical stories of people randomly choosing vacation spots by throwing a dart at a map. While that might make for some interesting trips, this method is not recommended for finding a top neighborhood with Lake Charles homes for sale

Picking a new neighborhood for your family requires a bit more planning than just throwing a dart at a map!

So how do you go about deciding on a neighborhood to settle in? Our real estate agents share five features to consider when planning a move to a new neighborhood.

  1. Commuting Time
    If you're one of the 4.7 million people who work from home at least part of the time, commuting time may not be relevant. But if you travel to the workplace, you'll want a reasonable commute. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average daily commute time is just under one hour. Take a trial run from your potential neighborhood to your workplace, preferably during rush hour. The availability of public transportation options can help mitigate commuting issues.

  2. Cost of Living
    Whether you are moving across the country, state, or just a neighborhood over the cost of living can change. Even if it's only a little bit higher, your family will feel this change in your wallet. Do your research and see what your essentials cost in the neighborhood you are planning on moving to. Better yet, if you can, do your grocery shopping around the neighborhood so you can scope out prices firsthand. 

  3. Urban or Suburban
    Your general lifestyle helps determine which type of environment you're likely to prefer. Urban areas offer a density of shops, services, and entertainment options, while they may be lacking in terms of quiet and privacy. On the other hand, suburban areas may require some effort to visit grocery stores, doctors' offices, and other amenities, but the trade-off is more space and a greater degree of tranquility. Whether you choose an urban or a suburban area, keep in mind what amenities are important to your family and make sure your new neighborhood offers them. 

  4. Crime and Safety
    Chances are this is one of the first things you thought to research when looking at potential neighborhoods. After all, everyone wants to feel safe in their neighborhood. Websites such as U.S. News & World Report, AreaVibes, and BestPlaces provide safety ratings for most cities and neighborhoods. In some cases, you can drill down to the zip code level. Visit the local police station or contact neighborhood watch groups for firsthand information.

  5. Housing Market
    The number one consideration in finding a home is locating that sweet spot where desirability meets affordability. But a home is more than just a place to live. As the biggest-ticket item most people will ever purchase, a house is also an investment. Take a look at the change in a neighborhood's housing values over the last few years. Have they appreciated at a higher rate than homes in comparable neighborhoods? The length of time on the market is another sign of a robust or stagnant market. 

As the largest independently-owned residential real estate company in Louisiana, Latter & Blum offers an elite level of knowledge and experience. Whether you're buying or selling a home around Lake Charles, contact us for cheerful and dedicated assistance with your needs. 


Dine Out on the Patio at These Baton Rouge Restaurants

Baton Rouge Dining

As the nation begins to open up, it's clear that social distancing and other basic precautions are going to be the "new norm," at least for a while. If you've been craving a sit-down meal at a restaurant but are worried about safety, you may want to consider visiting one of the many local restaurants with outdoor patio seating. 

Our real estate agents have been gathering a list of their favorites, and now we're ready to share it with you. We guarantee you'll have trouble deciding which of these local hot spots to visit first.  

  1. The Velvet Cactus: 7655 Old Hammond Hwy., Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    From their classic Mexican and Mexican-inspired dishes to the fresh lime and cane sugar margaritas and gorgeous patio with a scenic view, there are plenty of reasons to love The Velvet Cactus. This trendy restaurant is a popular destination for both lunch and dinner and also has an excellent brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. If you're feeling adventurous, make sure you try some of their unique offerings like the Crawfish Boil Queso and the Vodka Frosê. 
  2. Flambêe Cafe: 8210 Village Plaza Court, Baton Rouge, LA 70810
    French restaurant Flambêe Cafe offers patrons a delicious menu, pleasant atmosphere, and excellent service. Even better, it's just a short walk from some of the best Baton Rouge homes for sale. The menu features baguette sandwiches, burgers, salads, and "Tartes Flambêes." When you visit, make sure to ask about the chef's creation of the week, and don't forget to order some French onion soup. You won't be disappointed!
  3. Willie's Restaurant: 11260 Coursey Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70816
    Family-owned Willie's Restaurant is the perfect spot for Louisiana classics like crawfish platters, po'boys, catfish, etouffee, and gumbo. They also have an excellent brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays. If you're looking for a friendly place to kick back and relax, this is it! 
  4. Mid City Beer Garden: 3808 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    The Mid City Beer Garden is a beautiful outdoor space where you can enjoy amazing food and a frosty beer. This is a 21+ venue, so leave the kids at home -- but feel free to bring your furry friend! They carry a huge selection of beers and have a delicious food menu. Make sure you check out Taco Tuesdays and don't miss out on the weekend brunch. Mid City Beer Garden will be reopening for service on July 24th. Be sure to stop in for a pint when they reopen! 
  5. Bldg 5: 2805 Kalurah St., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Tucked right under the Perkins Road Overpass, Bldg 5 is the go-to spot for fresh, seasonally-inspired food, craft cocktails, and a trendy, upscale vibe. In addition to traditional menu items, this restaurant also offers a selection of small plates and unique dinner boards that are meant to share. It's the perfect place to enjoy dinner, drinks, and good times with family and friends.

The great dining options are just one of the many things to love about living in the Baton Rouge area. Want to explore some of the local neighborhoods? Contact us today! We would love to show you around and help you find your dream home. 


Vacation Close to Home: Weekend Getaways in the Lafayette Area

Lafayette Weekend Getaways

Who's ready for a quick road trip close to home? Our real estate agents sure are! We're ready to stretch our legs, load up the car full of snacks, and explore everything that Louisiana has to offer. If you're looking for a few days out of the house, consider spending a weekend getaway without venturing too far from Lafayette.

  1. Maison D'Memoire Bed & Breakfast Cottages – 8450 Roberts Cove Rd., Rayne, LA 70578
    Approximately 20 minutes from Lafayette
    Experience award-winning Southern hospitality at Maison D'Memoire. This lovely bed and breakfast is just 20 minutes north of Lafayette and offers unrivaled charm. Voted a Best Romantic Getaway, the town of Rayne immerses you in tranquility with the heart of Cajun Country. Book a spacious cottage with a full kitchen and two-person tub for a weekend of pure bliss.

  2. Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast – 2727 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
    Approximately 2 hours from Lafayette
    New Orleans is known for its excitement and colorful culture, but don't forget that The Big East is also one of the best places in the state to kick back and relax. The Grand Victorian is a historic bed and breakfast on the majestic St. Charles Avenue. This Garden District home is located in the Garden District, just minutes from the French Quarter. Voted one of the best bed and breakfast spots in the city, the Grand Victorian will treat you to a lavish experience.

  3. The Fairfield Place – 2221 Fairfield Ave, Shreveport, LA 71104
    Approximately 4 hours from Lafayette

    Indulge in luxury at The Fairfield Place. With two properties on the grounds, the Fairfield Manor and Fairfield Place both offer the highest standard of hospitality. Although the property is close to Shreveport's dining, shopping, and entertainment, you'll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life while inside Fairfield. As one of the oldest surviving homes on the street, the Fairfield Place invites you to relax in the courtyard without a care in the world.

  4. Cajun Country Cottages – 1138 Lawless Tauzin Rd, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
    Approximately 25 minutes from Lafayette
    Take a step back in time and relish a renewal of spirit in Breaux Bridge. Cajun Country Cottages are nestled away on a secluded property to provide you with the R&R you desire. Lose track of time fishing in the lake, strolling the property, or reading a book on the porch swing. The five cottages offer plenty of privacy, making it the perfect little weekend getaway for Lafayette residents.

  5. Samuel Guy House Bed and Breakfast – 309 Pine St, Natchitoches, LA 71457
    Approximately 2.5 hours from Lafayette

    Fall in love with the elegance of the Samuel Guy House. This lovely bed and breakfast was restored to its original grandeur and relocated to peaceful Natchitoches in 2004. With comfortable rooms inside and a serene garden outside, you'll spend hours without a worry on your mind. Their gracious hospitality is only rivaled by their delicious Praline French Toast. After you stay at this historic house once, you'll want to return time and time again.

Looking for a new place in Lafayette? We can make it effortless! Contact us today to browse our charming Lafayette homes for sale.


7 Ways to Beat the Louisiana Heat This Summer

Summer Tips

Louisiana has a wonderful climate, but temperatures can soar over the summer. Fortunately, residents of our area have learned some tips and tricks that can help make you more comfortable. Our real estate agents suggest the following seven ways to beat the Louisiana heat this summer:

  1. Wear the Right Clothing
    You may be tempted to wear as little as possible during hot weather, especially when you go outside. But wearing light, loose-fitting clothing made of natural fabrics keep you more comfortable. And when you go outside, your covered skin won't be absorbing as much of the sun's heat, and you'll be more likely to avoid getting a scorching sunburn.

  2. Chill Your Sheets
    As strange as it sounds, put your top sheet and pillowcase - and even your bottom sheet if you have room - into large zip-lock bags and put them in the fridge during the evening. Put them back on your bed when it's time to go to sleep, and you'll have sheets that let you stay cooler at night.

  3. Stay Hydrated
    Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them, but drink plenty of water. If you put a bottle of water in the freezer, you'll always have a cold bottle to take with you when you go out. Many people get tired of plain water, so infuse it with fruit like cucumbers or strawberries to give it a shot of flavor.

  4. Use Your Fans
    Fans help move air, which makes your body feel cooler. Use ceiling fans set to turn counterclockwise as well as pedestal or table fans to help you beat the heat. Turn them off if you'll be leaving a room for a long period of time, since they help cool you off, but not the room.

  5. Shut the Blinds
    Letting natural light in your home can make it pleasant to be inside on most days, but during the summer, you're also letting heat into your home. Shut your blinds or draperies during the day and take the extra step of turning off unnecessary lights to avoid the heat they generate.

  6. Cool Off with Water
    Taking a cool shower can be very refreshing, especially before bedtime. You can also mist yourself with water throughout the day or sit in a lawn chair and soak your feet in a kiddie pool.

Contact us if you're looking to sell your home or would like to find out about Baton Rouge homes for sale in the area. Our real estate agents have a great deal of experience buying and selling homes in Louisiana and can help you sell your existing home and find the right one for you!


National Ice Cream Day: Ice Cream Shops in the Lafayette Area

Ice Cream in Lafayette

If you are looking for an excuse to check out some of the local ice cream shops in the Lafayette area, look no further! National Ice Cream Day is coming up on July 19th and is the perfect time to celebrate with a cone or cup of your favorite flavor of ice cream.

Lafayette is home to many wonderful local businesses serving up tasty, homemade ice cream. Our real estate agents suggest you pull into these local favorites on National Ice Cream Day or any hot summer day. 

  1. Carpe Diem - 812 Jefferson St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Seize the day by starting your adventure off at the best gelato-espresso bar on this side of Europe. At Carpe Diem, you can dine upon a crepe piled high with fruit and ice cream, sip a glass of wine, and savor the flavor of fabulous food and espresso. It's a great place to rest and relax in a fun, friendly atmosphere any day of the week.
  2. Jammin' Java - 3366 Verot School Rd., Suite 100, Lafayette, LA 70508
    At Jammin' Java, they take great pleasure in shattering the mold with every scoop. Their menu is the result of taking the traditional and twisting it, turning it and molding it into unique flavors. From frappes and milkshakes to ice cream sandwiches and more, you can find plenty of fabulous treats that will have you coming back for more. 
  3. Marble Slab Creamery - 3500 NW Evangeline Trwy G, Carencro, LA 70520
    Ready to get out of town for a little bit? Head on over to the Marble Slab Creamery for a little rest and relaxation. You can order a customized ice cream cake, sample some of their superbly decorated cookies and cakes, or mix and match your favorites to create a bowl of ice cream so large you'll need two spoons to eat it all. Black cherry and banana rum, peanut butter, and mango, if you can think of the flavor, they've already created it. They have more than 70 different flavors of ice cream, sorbet, and low-fat yogurt to choose from.
  4. Yogurtland - 104 E. Kaliste Saloom Rd., #100, Lafayette, LA 70508
    Looking for a slightly healthier alternative to celebrate National Ice Cream Day with? Venture over to Yogurtland. If you have meant to give them a try, now is a great time to pull in and discover just how sweet the Orange Blossom White Peace Light Ice Cream, Birthday Cupcake Batter, Almond Midnight Mocha, and more really taste. With so many flavors and combinations to try, this just might become your go-to place for a sweet treat at the end of the day.

It is our pleasure to help you discover the many businesses that make our city one of the sweetest in the south. Looking for a home near your favorite local businesses in Lafayette? Contact us to learn more about Lafayette homes for sale.


Houma Fishing Charters for Your Next Fishing Trip

Houma Fishing Charters

Summer's here and you're probably hearing the call of the great outdoors. Fishing is a relaxing way to enjoy nature while maintaining social distancing. Plus, our area is home to many wonderful fishing spots and fishing charters. Get ready to catch "the big one" with these popular fishing charters not far from Houma homes for sale.

  1. Cajun Fishing & Hunting Charters - 118 McAllen Dr., Houma, LA 70360
    Let Captain Anthony show you all the best fishing spots with Cajun Fishing & Hunting Charters. Cast your line for redfish, speckled trout and flounder during a day-long trip aboard Captain Anthony's 24-foot Skeeter Bayboat. The company also charters bowfishing trips for up to four people. Locations range from inland marshes to barrier island chains. Fees include everything except live bait and individual charter passenger licenses. Change of plans? Deposits are good for two years. 

  2. Topline Fishing Charters - 116 Nottingham Trail, Houma, LA 70360
    After fishing local waters for more than 25 years, Captain Chris Venable of Topline Fishing Charters has the experience to guide both veterans and newbies. Captain Chris is one of four generations of anglers. Charters primarily run in the Houma and Cocodrie areas, but trips to other coastal Louisiana waterways are available. Rates cover fish cleaning and all supplies but live bait. 

  3. Louisiana Guide Services - 141 Georgi Girl Dr., Houma, LA 70363
    Fly-fishing in the Louisiana marsh is a bucket list item for countless anglers. Captain Paul Ray and Louisiana Guide Services help make that dream a reality. With experience in fishing at sites around the world, Captain Paul is a member of the elite Eleven Angling team of professional guides. Louisiana Guide Services is one of the few charters operating two different-sized skiffs to fit particular areas. Choose from six- or eight-hour trips, with fees that include everything from licenses and supplies to beverages and snacks.

  4. MarshDawn Guide Service - 105 Cypress Grove St., Montegut, LA 70377
    Captain Ron Ratliff has been fly-fishing the Louisiana marsh for most of his life. Now he's sharing the knowledge of that experience with fellow anglers through MarshDawn Guide Service. Clients appreciate how hard he works to make them successful while maintaining an easy-going, personable charm. MarshDawn trips primarily target redfish, but catches may also include black drum, sheepshead, and jack crevalle. Charters can be booked for full- or half-days, with rates that cover all tackle along with ice and filtered water.

  5. Custom Charters - 102 Parnell Dr., Houma, LA 70360
    How much does Captain Tommy Pellegrin of Custom Charters love to fish? In 1995, he left the corporate world to make a living sharing his enthusiasm with others. In one concession to time, Captain Tommy has retired from offshore fishing and guides inshore trips in search of speckled trout and redfish. During the season, red snapper fishing can be added for an extra fee. True to the company name, charters are customized to accommodate your particular goals. Kids 12 and under accompanied by an adult fish free. Rates include boat and fuel, tackle, plastic bait, and fish cleaning.

Hoping to hook the perfect home? Our real estate agents will help you successfully navigate the "waters" of homes around Houma to land the right one. Contact us to get started.


5 Features Buyers Are Looking For Right Now

Features Buyers Want

In many places throughout the United States, the coronavirus slowed the real estate market for more than a month. Now, people are back to looking for Alexandria homes for sale.

The difference: Precisely what they are looking for has changed almost overnight. Needs that simply did not exist before are now reflected in buyer preferences around the region.

Our real estate agents are always eager to find new ways to help our sellers succeed. You don't always have to plan a major renovation to get ahead of these new trends. Sometimes, you can improve your odds of a fast, successful sale just by staging your home correctly.

To really wow your prospective buyers, focus on these emerging trends:

  1. More Bathrooms
    Washing your hands regularly is a good idea any time, but it has never been more important. Families who were once used to rationing time in a shared bathroom are finding that tougher. More means better, even if one bathroom is smaller or less sophisticated. It's a bonus if extra bathrooms have brass or copper fixtures, now lauded for their antimicrobial properties.
  2. Better Pantries
    In many communities, stocking up has become a way of life. While 2-4 weeks of food was the norm not that long ago, some buyers are wondering how they can safely stockpile two or even three months of groceries. Good kitchen storage is the key. On the same theme: Freezer space is at a premium, so agreeing to leave your new fridge behind can raise your selling price.
  3. The Return of The Coatroom
    Whether you call it a cloakroom, a coatroom, or a mudroom, this adjunct to your home's foyer is about to experience a renaissance. Mudrooms give you the opportunity to kick off your shoes and shed your outer garments, helping protect against two ways coronavirus can enter a home. Plus, you can also set up cleaning materials in this space, like hand sanitizer.
  4. More Distinct, Closed-Off Spaces
    While the open floorplan won't go away, its reputation has taken a dinging. From students doing their homework to established professionals working from home, everyone now needs a place to call their own. Enclosed, distraction-free spaces are "in." Nooks, islands, converted closets, and many other options will be more appealing to buyers than ever.
  5. Home Gyms
    Up until recently, the home gym has had a mixed reputation. Many buyers preferred sellers to take their gym equipment away with them to save on storage space. Today's buyers are worried about staying fit in a safe and sustainable way. It's time to put out the treadmill, exercise bike, and any other equipment. Clean them up like new and photograph them all set up!

No one can see the future – and the average buyer or seller couldn't have imagined all these changes. But even if your home doesn't match the latest trends, there are still steps you can take.

Adding shelving in your dining room or kitchen can help you meet the need for more storage space. Updating your bathroom fixtures is always a good idea, so make brass your first choice.

What about home office space? Many homeowners have been converting their side storage closets into small bonus rooms. This can be done in as little as one weekend. Just make sure to decorate the space when you're done and include the photos in your online listing!

Contact us at Latter & Blum today to find out more.


International Yoga Day: Baton Rouge Yoga Studios

Baton Rouge Yoga Studios

Get ready to strike a pose – a yoga pose that is! Sunday, June 21st, is International Yoga Day, and our real estate agents are looking forward to finding zen in a peaceful, uplifting yoga session. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and has gained popularity around the globe. If you're looking for a place where you can strengthen your mind, body, and soul, check out these yoga studios around Baton Rouge.

  1. Preservation Yoga – 8775 Jefferson Highway, Suite C, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    Change your life today at Preservation Yoga. The Original Hot Yoga Studio offers classes designed to improve your life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, with session times ranging from one hour to ninety-minutes. Stop in and sign up for a hot yoga class, Yin Yoga session, or an Inferno Hot Pilates lesson and leave feeling rejuvenated. As an added perk, new students can receive 30 days of lessons for only $30.

  2. One Heart Yoga Center – 340 St. Joseph St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    A yoga studio uniting heart, body, and soul, One Heart Yoga Center promotes yoga classes for everybody. No matter your ability or skill level, you are welcomed with open arms to share in the healing and transformative powers of yoga. One Heart Yoga Center has certified yoga instructors as well as a massage therapist, a sound healer, a hypnotherapist, and an aesthetician at their facility to help you restore balance to every aspect of your wellbeing.

  3. Yoga Path – 711 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    Yoga Path
    has been a favorite studio for Baton Rouge yoga enthusiasts. Though times are changing, Yoga Path is adapting in new ways and will now solely be a yoga school for those who want to complete their yogi training. Thankfully, there are still online classes available via videos on the website, and you can also sign up for private yoga lessons if you are interested in continuing with Yoga Path without becoming a certified yogi.

  4. Yogalates II – 3753 Perkins Rd., Suite A, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Yogalates II
    blends yoga, Pilates, and calisthenics into a complete workout. Everything from your muscles and joints to your organs and soul will be strengthened. They "train outside the box," allowing individuals from every walk of life to reap the benefits of these exercises no matter their skill level or physical limitations. Build, burn, and balance your way to a healthier life with Yogalates II.

  5. Parish Pilates & Yoga – 2931 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    Tradition meets innovation at Parish Pilates & Yoga. This Mid City studio offers a comprehensive yoga program that includes some classes covering traditional, modern, and alternative yoga classes. As the only studio in the city that specializes in Springboard equipment Pilates, this studio offers a unique opportunity to challenge your body, mind, and spirit with support from a diverse community.

Would you love a serene space to practice yoga in your house? Contact us today to learn more about our Baton Rouge homes for sale.


National Homeownership Month: How Latter & Blum Can Help

Homeownership Month

June is National Homeownership Month – and there's never been a better time to find out more about the home-buying process!

Our real estate agents know that getting started on your very first home search can seem like a tall order. Luckily, we have the resources to make the whole process easier and enjoyable!

Latter & Blum employs the best real estate agents in the business. Our experienced team is with you every step of the way. Our residential real estate services have been helping clients just like you since 1916 with unbeatable expertise and customer care as our hallmarks.

Our 25 branch offices make us the largest independently owned real estate company in Louisiana and the 29th largest nationwide. No matter what kind of home you're looking for, our network of more than 1,200 dedicated agents offers the help you need.

Our Family of Companies Provides Everything You Need for to Buy a Home

Navigating the home-buying process can seem very complex. There are many complex steps when purchasing a home, from choosing the right mortgage to obtaining homeowner's insurance. Fortunately, Latter & Blum gives you the opportunity to have all your needs met within the same network of companies! Even your mortgage loan can be handled within our business family. From beginning to end, you'll work only with people who care about you.

Our partner organizations include:

  1. Essential Mortgage Company has been helping Louisiana clients through the mortgage loan process since 1998. These local mortgage pros see you as a person, not just a credit score. It's faster and easier than ever to qualify, apply, and seek approval for the mortgage loan you want. You can get help with down payments, closing costs, and all the other topics buyers should know.
  2. Latter & Blum Insurance Services rounds out the full suite of homebuyer services you need. The local, independent team takes the mystery out of insurance products. Homeowners insurance has never been simpler. Fire insurance, flood insurance, and much more are also available. Protecting your home and property really can be a simple, streamlined process.

You May Be Entitled to Assistance Under the CARES Act

This year, National Homeownership Month is being recognized under the most extraordinary circumstances in decades. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, adopted into law on March 27, 2020, authorizes direct cash relief to many Americans. It also provides a wide range of other benefits including mortgage payment relief. Remember, if you or someone you know is having difficulty with mortgage payments as a result of coronavirus, help is available.

Read more from the U.S. Treasury: The CARES Act.

Reach Out to Latter & Blum this National Homeownership Month!

We want to help you achieve your real estate goals. You can find the right home for you in Lafayette, Greater New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Central Louisiana, Bayou Region, or Lake Charles!

For expert assistance, contact us today. We look forward to helping you!


World Blood Donor Day: Donation Spots Near Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge Blood Drive

Of the many volunteers who generously donate their kindness to society, blood donors are a group of heroes that save lives with each precious drop of blood that they give. Believe it or not, a single hour spent donating blood can save up to three lives. Not only do these blood donations preserve the wellbeing of those in our own Baton Rouge community, but they also safeguard the health of men, women, and children around the world.

To honor these individuals and continue raising awareness for the dramatic need for blood, the World Health Organization created World Blood Donor Day. This event is celebrated around the globe and applauds the selfless service of donors while highlighting the importance of consistent blood donations. Now in its 16th year, World Blood Donor Day continues to remind us that, although all of us have blood, more than half of us are actually unable to donate. In fact, only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate. This becomes more concerning when you realize that every two seconds, someone in the United States is in desperate need of a blood donation.

Blood is not a resource that can be artificially manufactured or taken without permission. Blood donations rely on the kindness and consent of donors to keep blood banks stocked around the world. Donor blood is used for more than blood transfusions. It is also used to treat a number of diseases and is used for research to combat other life-threatening health conditions. Nearly 80 countries around the globe use voluntary blood donations to stock 90 to 100 percent of their blood supply. By donating even just once, you're immediately improving the lives of individuals around the world.

World Blood Donor Day is on June 14th and we can't think of a better way to celebrate these volunteers than by doing our part to help those who need it most in our world. If you are interested and able to donate blood, our real estate agents encourage you to please consider visiting these blood donation centers around Baton Rouge.

Of course, these are not the only locations where you can donate blood around Baton Rouge. There are many facilities and mobile blood donation drives occurring throughout the year. We encourage you to reach out to these additional resource to learn more about upcoming opportunities to donate blood around the Baton Rouge area:

To learn more about Baton Rouge homes for sale, please contact us to discuss buying or selling properties in the area.


Get Some Fresh Air in Houma: Nature Trails and Beaches to Explore

Houma Nature Trails

Now that the state is starting to open back up, we're all excited to get out of the house and get some fresh air! While things may not be quite back to "normal" yet, there are plenty of ways for you to start enjoying yourself once again. 

When our real estate agents aren't busy showing buyers the best Houma homes for sale, they love visiting the area's nature trails and beaches. 

Not sure where to go? Take a look at these ideas!

  • Grand Isle Beach: Grand Isle, LA 70358
    We are lucky to live near one of the most popular beaches in Louisiana! Grand Isle Beach offers seven miles of soft, white sand where you can spend the day enjoying sunny, salty fun. The area also features a public fishing pier, excellent spots for bird-watching, a state park where you can camp, crab, and fish, and a nature trail. So, whatever you're into, you're sure to enjoy your time here. 
  • LUMCON Boardwalk: 8124 Highway 56 Chauvin, LA 70344
    The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) boardwalk is open to the public and is an excellent place to get some exercise, enjoy the fresh air, and keep your eyes peeled for many different species of birds. You're likely to see great egrets, roseate spoonbills, great blue herons, green herons, and pelicans. Take a look down in the ponds, and you may also catch some sailfin mollies, sheepshead, speckled kingsnakes, fiddler crabs, blue crabs, otters, and maybe even an alligator.  
  • The Marguerite Moffett Audubon Sanctuary: 7032 Little Caillou Rd, Chauvin, LA 70344
    If you enjoy nature, and, in particular, birding, you'll want to pay a visit to The Marguerite Moffett Audubon Sanctuary. This 108-acre protected marshland features a 700-foot long boardwalk that winds its way through the marsh and ends at an overlook-observation platform. Not only will you see many different birds, like sea sparrows and marsh wren, but you'll also enjoy an incredible view of Lake Quitman.
  • Lockport Elevated Wetlands Board Walk: 6419 LA-308, Lockport, LA 70374
    The fairly new Lockport Trail offers visitors the chance to enjoy a 440-feet boardwalk that winds through a cypress swamp dotted with large trees. The boardwalk ends at a gazebo where you can stop to rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. 
  • Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge Nature Trail: 3599 Bayou Black Dr, Houma, LA 70360
    The 4,419-acre Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge nature trail features a cypress-tupelo swamp and freshwater marsh. This walk will take you approximately 45-minutes round-trip and will give you the chance to see many different kinds of birds and even some alligators up-close. 

If you're looking to buy or sell property in Houma, we're here to help! Whether you're ready to start going out or you're more comfortable doing things virtually, we can accommodate your needs. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 


Random Acts of Kindness You Can Do in Baton Rouge

Random Acts of Kindness Baton Rouge

Finding it hard to occupy your time these days? Our real estate agents have some ways to stay active nourishing the soul and brightening someone else's day. Keep busy with these simple but powerful random acts of kindness that enrich the community around Baton Rouge homes for sale

  1. Adopt a Pet - Friends of the Animals, 8476 Highland Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Sadly, more animals than usual are finding themselves displaced at a time when people need companionship. Over its first decade in operation, Friends of the Animals has placed more than 5,000 dogs and puppies in forever homes. While the center is currently closed, you can view available pets on the website or Facebook page and submit an online adoption application. If you want to offer support but can't currently take in a pet, donations are gratefully accepted.

  2. Send Letters to Healthcare Facilities - Flannery Oaks Guest House, 1642 N. Flannery Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70815
    Residents in healthcare facilities have to forgo visitation that's a crucial element of their physical and emotional well-being. Flannery Oaks Guest House cares for people who have short- or long-term health issues requiring skilled medical attention. Imagine how much a thoughtful card or note would mean to them. Contact Flannery Oaks or the healthcare facility of your choice to confirm their preferred procedure for sending letters.

  3. "Chalk Your Walk"
    Do you have kids who are going stir-crazy? Join residents from NYC to Oahu and "Chalk Your Walk" with pictures, words of encouragement, and other visual images demonstrating solidarity with your Baton Rouge neighbors when you're finished, post pictures of the completed work on the project's Facebook page for everyone to enjoy.

  4. Feed a Family - Isabella's Pizzeria, 10330 Airline Hwy., Baton Rouge, LA 70816
    With inventory levels strained to the limit, grocery shopping can be unreliable, making mealtime a challenge. Surprise a family member, friend, or neighbor and support small business one night with dinner delivered to their door. Pizza is relatively inexpensive, feeds several people, and satisfies just about anyone. Isabella's Pizzeria is open daily from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. for delivery or curbside pickup. You can also pay it forward by purchasing gift cards from your favorite restaurant and distributing them for use now or later.

  5. Run Errands
    After watching the news one day, British freelance writer Becky Wass was inspired to create a clever way of letting her neighbors know she was willing and able to provide help. Becky and her husband shared her ingenious postcard template online, with the sensible instructions to "wash your hands" before printing and distributing.

  6. Thank Essential Workers
    Essential workers have been supporting the Baton Rouge area, and it's time to show them your appreciation. A simple thank you while in the checkout aisle can mean the world. Tell them how much you value the work they do for the community. Being kind goes a long way! 

In good times and bad, Latter & Blum is proud to support the vibrant Baton Rouge community. Contact us for help with all your real estate questions.


Phase 1 Reopening in Louisiana: The Impact on Real Estate Services

Reopening Louisiana

Following established guidelines, Louisiana will begin Phase 1 of the opening plan on Friday, May 15th. Although this reopening is a bright beacon of hope, we must not forget that we are not fully free of the shadow of COVID-19. As we revive our sense of normalcy, our real estate agents want to assure you that we are collectively doing our part to safely serve our community as responsibly as possible.

FAQ About Louisiana Phase 1 Coronavirus Reopening

When will Louisiana reopen?
The state will enter Phase 1 of a three-phase reopening plan, as suggested by the federal government, on May 15th.

What businesses and services will be reopened in Phase 1?
Phase 1 of the reopening plan includes the opening of many services and businesses, such as barbershops/hair salons, bars that serve food, churches, funeral services, gyms and fitness centers, malls, movie theaters, restaurants, and many other non-essential businesses. However, many of these locations are only allowed to open if they follow strict guidelines dictating the number of individuals permitted to occupy the space and how employees, visitors, and customers must interact while following social distancing/PPE guidelines.

How long will Phase 1 last?
Currently, Louisiana is scheduled to operate under Phase 1 guidelines for 21 days, and into Phase 2 on June 15th. However, as we've seen over the last few months, the coronavirus situation can change quickly. While these dates are hopeful, they are not guaranteed and may be adjusted at any time.

How does this impact real estate services?
We want all of our associates and clients to know that Latter & Blum considers the safety and health of our community a number one priority. As essential personnel, our agents can continue to serve our community as safe, securely, and responsibly as possible. To do so, we have asked that all Latter & Blum agents follow these guidelines:

  • Reduce the number of physical showings by only touring homes with buyers who are prequalified for properties that meet their search criteria (for example, size, price, style, wish list, location, etc.)

  • All agents should conveniently provide documents describing floor plan, property amenities, flood information, home improvements, termite contracts, and other relevant information on the MLS listing. Furthermore, agents should also execute any paperwork electronically when possible.

  • Agents should practice social distancing by remaining six feet apart from others when possible and by limiting showings to a maximum of five people at once. Agents should also drive to each property in separate vehicles from the buyers.

  • All agents are encouraged to wear a mask in public places, including during property viewings, wear gloves, and wash their hands when entering and exiting the property. All agents should also sanitize any surface that they touch and open/close all doors, cabinets, and other property elements for the buyers

Although these guidelines are not forced upon the agents or buyers, many of our agents are voluntarily taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 out of respect to our friends, family members, and neighbors throughout the community.

If you are ready to purchase or sell property, we're ready to help. Contact us today to get started!


Where to Donate Homemade Masks in New Orleans

Homemade Masks in New Orleans

As COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, continues to sweep through our nation many of our daily activities have been put on hold. 

If you have a necessary reason to leave your homes — such as an important doctor's visit or a trip to the grocery store — the World Health Organization has suggested that all individuals practice social distancing and wear masks that cover their noses and mouths.

Our REALTORS® want you to be as informed as possible. Here are a few answers to questions frequently asked about the coronavirus, including why masks are helpful, how you can make your own, and where you can donate handmade masks.

Why do masks help protect against the spread of the coronavirus?

The molecules of the virus itself are microscopic, and unfortunately, can pass through even the smallest of pores in a mask. However, the coronavirus molecules often attach themselves to water molecules in the nose and mouth. By wearing adequate covering around the nose and mouth, these water droplets are less likely to be spread.

How can I make a homemade mask?

Making an adequate homemade mask is surprisingly simple. You don't even need to make a mask if you have a bandana or other clothing item that will fully cover your face. For those with sewing talents, you can print out a mask template and follow the directions. For those who are unable to sew, you can follow alternate directions to make a mask out of fabric, t-shirts, or other pieces of cloth. Ideally, you'll need a thicker fabric like cotton. It's recommended that you create a mask with two layers protecting the face, being sure that the mask fits snuggly without preventing you from breathing or speaking properly.

Where can I donate homemade masks in New Orleans? 

We admire the generosity of anyone who has the time and supplies to make masks for others in the community. The following organizations are in need of masks and other medical supplies:

  • Rapides Regional Medical Center Critical Care Unit

  • Serenity Home Care

  • Dr. Kirk Leblanc

  • West Bank Cardiology

  • Colonial Manor and Rehab 

  • AMEDISYS Home Health

  • The Center for Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine

  • Tensas Community Health 

If there's one city that comes together as a community to overcome adversity, it's the Crescent City. We encourage anyone who can to make masks and donate them to our family members, friends, neighbors, and front-line service personnel in need. If you would like to schedule a virtual tour or private showing of New Orleans homes for sale, please contact us today.


9 Signs You've Found the Home of Your Dreams

Dream Home

If you've been visiting some of the Lake Charles homes for sale, you know just how many great options there are on the market right now. Buying a home is a big commitment, so how do you know when you've found the perfect one? 

Sometimes, your heart will skip a beat, and you'll feel a little flutter. Our REALTORS® love it when this happens! Other times, the decision will be a bit more challenging. You may be torn between several homes, or you might just feel unsure. In this case, you'll be looking for a sign that the home you're considering is the right one for you. 

Don't worry! We've created the following list of the top nine signs that you've found your dream home. 

  1. You Feel Overjoyed
    The number one sign that you've found your dream home is when you feel a pure sense of joy. Remember those flutters we mentioned? This is it! If you leave the house feeling excited and euphoric, this is an excellent sign. 
  2. It Meets All of Your "Must Haves"
    It's rare to find a home that checks off every box on your list of "must-have" features. If you find one that does (or comes really close), then you may want to jump on it.
  3. The Location is Perfect
    As they say, the most important things about real estate are location, location, and location. If a home has come on the market in the exact area you were hoping for, it just might be your dream home.
  4. You Don't Want to Look at Any More Homes
    When you've found the perfect home, you'll often lose your desire to keep looking. In this case, it's probably a good idea to listen to your gut and put in an offer.
  5. Small Flaws Don't Bother You
    Sometimes, your perfect home isn't actually perfect. If you're in love with a house and willing to overlook small flaws, this is an excellent sign. As long as the upgrades or repairs won't take too much time or money, go ahead and listen to your intuition.
  6. You're Already Thinking About Decorating
    Are you already picking out paint colors and decor in your mind? Picturing yourself living in the home is an excellent sign that it's the one for you. 
  7. You Can't Wait to Share the News
    Did you leave the house and immediately want to call your family and friends? Go ahead and share the news, because you've just found your dream home!
  8. You Can See Yourself Living There for the Foreseeable Future
    A home you can see yourself living in for the long-term is always an excellent option. Is there room to grow and accommodate life changes like marriage or children? If you think you could comfortably stay in the home for at least five years, it's worth considering. 
  9. It Already Feels Like Your Home
    When you've found the right home, those initial feelings of excitement can turn into feelings of possessiveness. When you've found your dream home, you'll start to think of it as yours well before you sign the closing paperwork and receive your keys. 

If you haven't found your dream home yet, don't give up! Instead, contact us. We'll show you some of the best houses on the market and keep working until you're sure you've found the right one. Reach out to us today!


7 Things You Didn't Know About the Louisiana State Capitol Building

Lousiana State Capitol Building

There's history on every corner in Louisiana. Much of that history converges on the magnificent corners of the Louisiana State Capitol Building. When the building was first envisioned in 1928, it was the physical manifestation of the state's spirit. Today, it remains one of the most beautiful and storied buildings in the country, and there are seven facts about the structure that our REALTORS® think you just might be interested in knowing.

  1. The Tallest Capitol Building in the United States. 
    Towering high at 450 feet, the 34 floors of the building were completed in 1932. From the observation deck at 350 feet in the air, you can see a significant part of the state and catch some of the most exquisite views in the south at sunrise and sunset.
  2. Huey Long Brought it to Life. 
    The building was born from the grand visions of the state's most famous politician; and, Governor Long made the construction of the building a central plank on his platform. He remained intensely proud of the completion of the building long after he was elected to represent the state in the U.S. Senate. After he was assassinated in the building in 1935, Senator Long was buried on the building's grounds, and the statue place above his grove looks towards the building so he can admire it for eternity.
  3. It is a National Landmark. 
    The Louisiana State Capitol Building is listed as a National Historic Landmark. In fact, you can even take a virtual tour of the building. Taking your family for a trip through time in the building is an excellent opportunity to drop in and wander the halls of history. It's a place where you can admire the artwork and learn more about the fabulous, interesting, and sometimes quirky history of our state.
  4. From Design to Construction Took Just 36 Days. 
    That's fast by even the fastest standards. However, Governor Long was adamant that construction shouldn't miss a beat, and he wanted that building up just as quickly as they could erect the scaffolding. George A. Fuller Company from Washington, D.C. did the construction. It took just over 18 months for the dust to clear and the building to celebrate its grand opening on May 16, 1932.
  5. One of the Finest Art Deco Structures in the World. 
    The building was completed in Art Deco style with a hint of highly simplified classicism thrown in for good measure. Of all the buildings of that era, the Louisiana State Capitol reflects the hope, simplicity, and elegance of our state at the time. And, while design tastes have evolved and changed, that spirit is still very much alive in Baton Rouge's residents.
  6. Memorial Hall is Perfect for History Lovers. 
    Memorial Hall is 124 feet long and 40 feet wide. It's filled with relief maps of the state, artwork depicting famous men and women, and more than a few hints at the myriad of flora and fauna in the state.
  7. It's Not Used Everyday. 
    Legislators only meet for 120 days a year. The rest of the time, they're back in their parish with their constituents. 

Contact us for more fun facts about life and living in Baton Rouge. It's our pleasure to tell you more and show you some of the Baton Rouge homes for sale that fit your budget and desired lifestyle. 


Curbside and Takeout Options in Lafayette

Takeout in Lafayette

Dine-in table service at Lafayette restaurants has been restricted since March 17. That's the day shelter-in-place directives were issued by the governor here in Louisiana.

Staying at home as much as possible is vital to weathering the coronavirus threat. However, the Lafayette dining community is working hard to make meals available. It is permitted to visit local restaurants for carryout service, and many are offering delivery.

Just remember, parking in front of many Lafayette dining locations is limited to 20 minutes. If you decide to order carryout, be sure to order and pay in advance online or by phone.

Here's where to chow down around Lafayette:

  1. Blaze Pizza – 111 Meadow Farm Road #100, Lafayette, LA 70508
    Offering carryout and delivery with special deals through the Blaze Pizza website, this mainstay is known for artisanal ingredients, dough made from scratch, and crisp, fast-fired pizzas. It also boasts a selection of salads, desserts, and drinks.
  2. Antoni's Italian Cafe – 1118 Coolidge Street Suite A, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Antoni's Italian Cafe is cooking up its full menu for takeout service. Locally owned and operated, it's been a favorite for over 20 years. Available for lunch and dinner, you won't want to miss hearty meals like lasagna Bolognese, chicken parmesan, grilled quail, and baked salmon.
  3. Burgersmith – 1314 Camellia Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506
    Burgersmith will tantalize your taste buds with takeout, curbside, and delivery orders featuring all your favorite juicy burgers. You can also enjoy the chili cheese dog, fried egg sandwich, Cajun bratwurst, blackened or grilled fish sandwich, and many more.
  4. Judice Inn – 3134 Johnston Street, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Dating to 1947, Judice Inn has seen tough times and always rises to the occasion. Delivery and pickup orders are being taken through the app, website, and Facebook. Call in when you arrive, and orders will be brought to your car. Now's the perfect chance to try its famous burgers!
  5. TEA-Rex – 120 Curran Lane Suite B, Lafayette, LA 70506
    Known for the classic tearoom experience right in the heart of Lafayette, TEA-Rex delights its fans by offering delivery through the Waitr app. Takeout is also available. New drinks such as the coffee milk tea with handmade coffee foam are continuing to debut!
  6. Bisbano's Pizza Parlor – 1540 Johnston Street, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Bisbano's Pizza Parlor is ready for to-go orders, curbside, and delivery through DoorDash while still serving up some of the best pizza in Lafayette. Soups, salads, and a whole slew of po' boys are brought hot and fresh alongside pizzas with all your favorite toppings.
  7. SHINTO Japanese Cuisine – 3810 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Beloved for its romantic atmosphere and great food, SHINTO may not be able to offer its exciting table-side show, but its food is as good as ever. Japanese classics run the gamut from steaks to ultra-fresh sushi. Takeout and delivery orders are available.
  8. Twins Burgers and Sweets – 2801 Johnston Street, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Twins Burgers and Sweets is open for curbside service and will provide a surprise bag of sweet treats to customers to show their appreciation. Cupcakes, cookies, shakes, and specialty desserts are still on offer after you enjoy your mouthwatering signature beef or crab burger.

Now's a terrific time to support local businesses by ordering from your favorite Lafayette restaurant. For questions about real estate opportunities and Lafayette homes for sale, simply contact us.


How to Support Local Restaurants in New Orleans

New Orleans Restaurants

The New Orleans dining scene is legendary, which remains true even as residents, restaurant owners, and our REALTORS® adjust to life in the city while COVID-19 precautions are in effect. Many restaurants that were only dine-in in the past are now adapting to offer takeout and delivery options, while others are offering gift cards that can be used when restaurants reopen. Remember that restaurant staff have also been forced to adapt, and any tip you can leave with your order goes a long way toward providing support for those workers. While the communal, social aspect of meeting your favorite people at local restaurants may be on hold, there are still many ways to support your favorite restaurants during these unusual times.

  • Mid City
    Every neighborhood where you can shop for New Orleans homes for sale offers its own set of excellent restaurants, and Mid City is no exception. Blue Oak BBQ is still serving up all of your favorites for curbside pickup during lunch and dinner, with happy hour deals available every day. Fresh seafood is on the menu every day at Zasu, where the whole menu is available for takeout orders. Katie's has you covered for seafood and BBQ favorites, along with new family meals available for pickup and delivery.

  • French Quarter
    While the French Quarter may look a little different without the usual crowds, restaurants from this corner of the city are cooking up all of the favorites that you know and love. Doris Metropolitan is still offering its full menu for pickup and delivery, along with butcher service, fresh bread, and spirits. The Italian Barrel is also offering its full menu and has added some delicious sandwiches to the list for takeout service. If you're in the mood for bar bites or some of the best-frozen cocktails that you'll find anywhere, Manolito is still serving all of your favorites for takeout every evening.

  • Uptown
    The team at Boucherie has whipped up a special pickup/delivery menu while dine-in service is closed, featuring all of your steak and seafood staples. If you're craving your brunch fix, Live Oak Cafe has you covered with a brunch/lunch menu in the afternoon and dinner in the evening. Saffron Nola has added a curbside pickup to its many charms, with a full menu of delicious Indian cuisine and a special, family-oriented menu.

  • Lower Garden District
    Hankering for some authentic Creole goodness? The Munch Factory is still serving all of your favorites. Call ahead to order. Popular new spot Blue Giant is offering all of its high-end spins on classic Chinese dishes for pickup, so if you haven't tried it yet, now is the time. When you're in the mood for plant-based food, Seed has you covered with pickup and free delivery within a five-mile radius of the restaurant.

  • Bayou St. John
    Get your Mediterranean fix from 1000 Figs, which is offering a modified menu for curbside pickup and delivery every day from Wednesday through Sunday. Popular French bistro Cafe Degas, which has been serving the neighborhood for more than 30 years, is also offering takeout and delivery, including special wine deals when you order for curbside pickup. 

New Orleans is a city that knows how to support its own, and grabbing a meal from your favorite restaurants is a great way to show your support for the city. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA area.


COVID-19 Update From Our Agents

COVID-19 Update

At Latter & Blum, our REALTORS® have worked hard to protect the safety of our clients and co-workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are following all social distancing and safety guidelines issued throughout Louisiana.

The measures affect all Lafayette homes for sale and New Orleans homes for sale as well as properties elsewhere in the state. In addition to state and federal guidelines, real estate associations have issued industry-specific guidance for protecting clients.

In light of all the available information, Latter and Blum is doing our part to flatten the curve with the following measures:

  1. All of Our Real Estate Offices Are Currently Closed
    Social distancing is the most important step most people can take to ensure the well-being of family, friends, and neighbors. With this in mind, all Latter & Blum offices throughout our service area are closed. We are still working every day and remain available by phone, Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime.
  2. Virtual Open Houses Are Now Available to Buyers
    In-person open house events are suspended for the foreseeable future. Our agents have been implementing Virtual Open House technology. We recommend Virtual Open Houses and showings be conducted by appointment only.
  3. New Home Search Technologies Are Being Introduced
    Latter & Blum will be rolling out cutting-edge technologies to make every aspect of buying and selling easier in this challenging time. That includes virtual showings, high-definition video tours, and 3D tours of new listings, digital document signing, and online transaction management.
  4. We Are Updating Current Listings With Safety Precautions
    Real estate agents around the country have been developing best practices for health and safety. We will update all of our current listings to request that visitors to homes maintain a safe distance from countertops, door handles, appliances, and lighting, and refrain from using bathrooms.
  5. We Recommend Screenings for Clients Who Want to See a Home
    Our agents will be asking buyers and sellers some simple questions to assess health risks. Please let us know if you are experiencing any symptoms, have been exposed to an infected person or have one in your care, or have recently traveled to areas with high coronavirus risk.

What to Know About All-New Virtual Tours

A virtual tour is the next best thing to being there! It's safe, convenient, and even fun.

During a virtual tour, you will have the opportunity to walk through a property with the help of your real estate agent. You can ask questions and get them answered in real-time. Our smart mobile technology gives you a clear view of every area of the home.

For your convenience, we are leading appointment-only virtual tours with the most popular telepresence software. Our agents are experienced in FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom. All you need to do is set an appointment time and then wait for our call. Tours last less than an hour.

Here's how to get set up on these convenient platforms:

You can use the above software on your favorite smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even on a desktop computer. For questions about how to best enjoy your virtual tour, contact your agent directly.

Latter & Blum is Here for You in This Difficult Time

If you decide not to buy or sell right now, that's okay! Latter & Blum will be here when you need us, and so will the right Louisiana home for you. We care about you and your family's health and safety. 

Remember, we are all in this together. If you have any questions for our team, don't hesitate to contact us.


How to Navigate Multiple Offers on Your Home

Multiple Offers

When listing your home for sale, you might be fortunate to receive multiple offers for your property. If you find yourself in this situation, it's important to know what steps to take to ensure you choose the best offer for your specific situation. Know how to weigh your options with these tips below. 

Stick with the Facts

Many sellers have an emotional attachment to their home, and buyers may try to take advantage of this to encourage a seller to accept their offer. You might receive offers that include personal photographs or letters that suggest the buyer will take great care of your home. However, it's essential to stick with the facts.

A touching family narrative doesn't put one buyer in a better financial position to purchase your home. Instead, focus only on the facts of the offer to decide which option is best for you. 

Consider Details Other Than Price

It's tempting to go with the offer with the highest price. After all, it seems reasonable to end the sale with as much money as possible in your bank account. However, it's vital to consider details other than price when comparing the offers. Some other elements to keep in mind include:

  • The proposed closing date
  • The buyer's contingencies
  • The buyer's source of funding
  • The amount of the buyer's earnest money
  • Any extras offered by the buyer

Decide what other elements will sweeten the deal for you. Do you need to close the deal as soon as possible to move into another home? If so, you may prefer a deal with a quick closing date.

Or, do you want a little time to check out other Lafayette homes for sale? You might decide to go with an offer that allows you to remain in the home for a specified period after the closing date.

Acknowledge the Power of Cash

When comparing your buyers' financing, you should acknowledge the power of a cash offer (or an offer that includes a significant cash portion). There's always a chance that financing can fall through if the buyer is using a mortgage to cover the majority of the home's price. The buyer might have credit, financial, or employment changes that lead the lender to decide they're too risky. 

A buyer who plans to pay cash doesn't have to wait around for a lender. They don't have to worry about a low appraisal possibly souring the deal. If the buyer wants your home and has the cash to pay for it, they can pay whatever amount they feel the home is worth. Not only does a cash offer make selling your home a little more convenient, but it can help reduce the length of time it takes to close the deal.

Take Your Time

Our REALTORS® encourage homeowners with multiple offers to take their time when deciding what offer to accept. You may worry that one or all of the buyers will get impatient and withdraw their offer. It's important to relax; you own an attractive property that multiple people want to buy.

Instead, take time to thoroughly review the ins and outs of each offer and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of your options. 

Need a little more insight into selling your Lafayette home? Contact us today to speak with an agent. 


5 Landscaping Trends for Your Home This Spring

Landscaping in New Orleans

While being stuck at home, gardening is the perfect activity for enjoying the Louisiana sunshine. Our REALTORS® always keep up on the latest trends in outdoor living and landscaping. Whether you're an experienced gardener, or you're looking for a new hobby, these landscaping trends are perfect for sprucing up your yard! 

  1. Taking Interior Design Outside
    Natural stone, ceramic tile, and design patterns like the chevron, basketweave, lattice, and waves are all hot both indoors and out right now. You can see them in patios, walkways, stairs and retaining walls, to name a few. Outdoor kitchens and fireplaces are still all the rage. This spring, people are going for sleek, modern, and simple water features, fireplaces, and sculptures. Neutral, contemporary colors like gray, slate and even white are also making it outside these days. And don't forget the furniture—comfy couches, chairs, and cushions all have a place on the patio.
  2. Vertical Gardening
    Lots of New Orleans homes for sale feature small yards or courtyards. Perfect for small spaces, versatile vertical gardens can include flowers, edible plants, herbs, and more. Adding a trellis or arbor helps draw the eye upward, creating the illusion of more space. Climbing roses, ivy, and even tomatoes and pole beans can create a colorful, practical oasis you'll love. Potted herbs can be placed on shelving or by using wall hanger or other hanging mechanisms. Vertical gardening is also a great way to cover walls or fences that aren't visually appealing.
  3. Going High-Tech Outside
    Smart technology has become super popular in the home, so why not outdoors, too? Sleek, minimalist LED lighting with fixtures built into the hardscaping to keep them hidden from view is a trend that probably won't go away anytime soon. Programmable irrigation systems use just the right amount of water, so watering your plants can be a total no-brainer. Best of all, these lighting and irrigation systems can be controlled remotely online or by using a smartphone app. As technology improves and becomes more popular, the price is also dropping.  
  4. Low-Maintenance Landscaping
    Homeowners are interested in keeping it simple, and for many, that means moving away from a traditional lawn. Synthetic turf, sedge, and low-growing sod are becoming ever-popular, and reduce or even eliminate the need for mowing. Cobblestone paths and patios, rock gardens, shrubs, and trees with colorful foliage and perennial flowers that attract birds and pollinators will keep your yard vibrant while requiring very little maintenance.
  5. Feeling Blue?
    PPG, Sherwin-Williams, and Pantone all named different blue hues as their colors of the year, so blue is where it's at in 2020. This cool shade is a key component of our environment, so it naturally helps to create a relaxing vibe. Whether it's a water feature, hydrangea, an outdoor rug, or cushions, incorporating different shades of blue into your outdoor space can bring the beauty of the sky down to earth.

Ready to find the New Orleans home of your dreams? Our experienced team of real estate professionals can help. Contact us today to get started.


National Mom and Pop Business Owner Day: Local Businesses in Lafayette

Lafayette Local Businesses

Sunday, March 29th is the perfect time to support and celebrate local Lafayette shops, restaurants, and other mom and pop shops—after all, it is National Mom and Pop Business Owner Day! Our REALTORS® love shopping local and share some of their fave spots to check out.

  1. Rêve Coffee Roasters - 200 Jefferson St, Lafayette, LA 70501
    With several different locations, this locally-owned coffee roaster serves the Acadiana region and beyond with fresh, gourmet coffee. Take a break from a long day of searching for Lafayette homes for sale to sip on a warm latte and take home a bag of one of their special Louisiana Blends. You can also visit and enjoy their coffee at Campus Grounds at UL and Rêve Coffee Lab at 1042 Camellia Boulevard in Lafayette.
  2. Cat Clinic of Lafayette - 119 1/2 Arnould Blvd, Lafayette, LA 70506
    Next time your pet needs some TLC, take them to this new, locally owned clinic. This brand-new cat clinic not only offers top-notch veterinary care and grooming for your feline friend, but you can also enjoy coffee and local cat art in a waiting area designed especially for cat lovers! A graduate of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Jasmine C. Champagne is an experienced feline specialist committed to helping cats in the Lafayette area.
  3. Hello Imagination - 104 Rena Dr, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Located in the heart of Lafayette, this creative arts studio offers classes, workshops, and open studio time for children 18 months and older. Children can explore their creativity, learn techniques, and, most of all, have fun! Classes and workshops feature mediums such as drawing, painting, sculpture, textiles, photography, and more. Hello Imagination offers themed art parties and makers camps as well and provides a fantastic opportunity for children to express themselves and find joy in the wonder of creating art.
  4. Lafayette Salt Cave - 2504 Johnston St, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Ready to relax and restore your body and mind? This local spa offers dry salt therapy, salt products, meditation, and more. Rest on a bed of pink ground Himalayan salt, breathe in the salty air and explore its texture beneath your body. You can also recline in a zero gravity chair, rest, and absorb the healing Himalayan salt air. Take a mini salt session break for 30 minutes on your lunch hour, which includes 22 minutes of halotherapy, which is believed to help ease the symptoms of respiratory conditions.
  5. Tula Tacos & Amigos - 427 Jefferson St, Lafayette, LA 70501
    With tons of tequila cocktails and a huge menu of Latin specialties like tacos, tostadas, Mexican street corn, tamales, pupusas, and ceviche, this open-air oasis features a courtyard that's perfect for chilling with friends anytime. Their fresh, house-made tortillas are a favorite with the locals. Each week they feature delicious, to-die-for food and drink specials and cocktails events throughout the year.
  6. La Poste Emporium and Exploratorium - 153 Fuselier Rd, Arnaudville, LA 70512
    The perfect place to get a feel for the local culture when you're checking out Arnaudville homes for sale! This fun, eclectic shop and gathering space offers music and instruments from around the world, books, cool gifts like science and nature artifacts, hand-crafted jewelry, folk art, and more. Also, a performance event, and education space, La Poste holds regular gatherings and workshops that feature everything from music and dancing to gardening and costume-making.

Our experienced real estate professionals can help you find the home of your dreams. Contact us to get started.


Take a Walk in the Park Day: Best Parks for a Stroll in Baton Rouge

Parks in Baton Rouge

National Take a Walk in the Park Day is observed every year on March 30. What better time to take a stroll through one of Baton Rouge's many beautiful parks? You'll find each park to be unique with amenities such as sand beaches, fishing ponds, rock climbing walls, and more!

Our REALTORS® suggest going for a stroll in the following 6 Baton Rouge parks:

  1. Milford Wampold Memorial Park - 901 Stanford Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Milford Wampold Park has .25 miles of hard-surface walking trails, a new pedestrian bridge, plenty of green space, a sand beach on the LSU lake, and a pier and boat launch. You can also get moving some more with the park's new exercise station or take part in a special event like a kayaking class.

  2. Perkins Road Community Park - 7122 Perkins Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Perkins Road Community Park has an outdoor walking loop and walking trails to use on your walk in the park. It also offers exhilarating fun with a skate park and a rock climbing wall, as well as tamer amenities such as tennis courts and a fishing pond.

  3. Independence Community Park - 7500 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    If you walk the 1.8 miles of trails available in Independence Community Park, you'll be treated to beautiful views of the park's Botanical Gardens, which are free and open to the public. You'll be able to see the Louisiana Iris Garden, The Parterre Color Display Garden, The Day Lily Garden, and more. After your walk, enjoy a break at The Garden Cafe, which overlooks the gardens. The cafe has indoor and outdoor seating and serves coffee drinks, smoothies, salads, and other offerings.

  4. City-Brooks Community Park - 1515 Dalrymple Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    Take a walk on the outdoor walking track or bring your dog and head to the dog park at City-Brooks Community Park. Or if you'd rather enjoy a meditative, relaxing walk, try the labyrinth that's also located in the park. You can also browse through the greenspace, passing a golf course and splash pad along the way.

  5. Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center - 10503 N. Oak Hills Parkway, Baton Rouge, LA 70810
    Walking over the gravel paths and boardwalks in the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center will let you experience varied habitats, including the cypress-tupelo swamp, beech-magnolia, and hardwood forests. Keep your eyes open for plenty of birds and other animals such as white snakes, turtles, raccoons, rabbits, armadillos, and deer.

  6. Anna T. Jordan Community Park - 1750 Stilt St., Baton Rouge, LA 70807
    Walk on the outdoor track at Anna T. Jordan Community Park, and if you'd like to work up a sweat, try out the park's fitness center. It's available with a monthly membership, and you won't have to sign a contract. The park also has plenty of other ways to exercise, including an indoor and outdoor basketball court, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

Contact us to learn about the many advantages of living in the Baton Rouge area. Whether you're buying a home, selling a home, or both, we can help. Want to view properties in the Baton Rouge market? Check out Baton Rouge homes for sale.


National Puppy Day: Animal Shelters in NOLA

Animal Shelters in NOLA

National Puppy Day is Monday, March 23rd, and it is the perfect time to find a furry roommate! Rather than running to the pet store or calling up a local breeder, consider adopting one! There are thousands of pups living in animal shelters who are waiting for their forever home! Below are animal shelters in the New Orleans area:

  1. Southern Animal Foundation - 1823 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
    Located in the heart of New Orleans, the Southern Animal Foundation goes to great lengths to extend a helping hand to pets in need in the community. Their adoption process is one of the most thorough in the region, and they strive to help prospective owners find the perfect pet for their family and living situation.
  2. Zeus Rescues - 2520 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
    At Zeus Rescues, they may not be able to conjure lighting or control the seas, but they can help you find the most loving, caring, sweetest pet for your family. From Yorkshire Terriers to Chihuahuas and Labs, they have plenty of pets who are eager to snuggle and cuddle up with a new family.
  3. Villalobos Rescue Center - PO Box 771127, New Orleans, LA 70177
    Pitbulls get a bit of a bad rap by the media, and it is one reason that the Villalobos Rescue Center has plenty of pups waiting to find good homes. The amazing staff at the center go to great lengths to care for these pups and help them find caring homes for them to move into. Featured on Pitbulls and Parolees, many of the dogs you will find in the shelter have celebrity status, and you'll find they have a demeanor that's far sweeter and gentler than what you expect.
  4. Humane Society of New Orleans - 4734 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
    The Humane Society of New Orleans takes in thousands of dogs each year. Some have medical conditions; some are survivors of abusive owners; some are simply wanderers who meandered into town from parts unknown. While their backgrounds and needs, ages, and breeds are all different, one thing they all share is the need for love and affection. If you want to find a new best friend, you will find plenty to choose from when you drop by for a visit.
  5. Louisiana SPCA - 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70114
    The Louisiana SPCA always has dozens of pups who are looking for someone to play with on a lazy day. When you bring one of their tiny little residents home with you, the party will never end, and you'll always have a reason to head to the park, throw a ball, or snuggle up and watch TV.  

While you might not be able to adopt right now, you might want to consider helping these shelters by fostering a pet. Fostering helps prevent shelters from getting over-crowded, plus helps the dogs get acclimated to family life. Talk to these shelters about their fostering requirements. Not only will you be helping a shelter dog, but you'll also get some company while social distancing! 

Adopting a pet is a big decision. It comes with unique challenges, and sometimes requires a little extra TLC. Don't worry about what you don't know, because each of these fabulous shelters is staffed with remarkable people who will help guide you through the ins and outs of how to help your new friend settle in and feel right at home.

Contact us for more information about pet-friendly communities in New Orleans. Our REALTORS® will help you find a home near parks, lakes, and other attractions that your family and furry friends will love to visit.

Searching for a home? Check out New Orleans homes for sale


New Orleans Greenhouses for Your Garden

Beginning of Spring

The official first day of Spring is March 19th, and we can't wait! Our REALTORS® love the warm weather and all of the opportunities it brings.

Are you ready to take advantage of the spring season and refresh your home's landscaping? If so, you'll want to head over to some of the area's best greenhouses to pick up supplies and maybe even get some inspiration. Below are a few of our favorites around the New Orleans area. 

  1. The Plant Gallery: 9401 Airline Highway, New Orleans, LA 70118
    You'll need to take some extra steps to ensure your house stands out from the rest! The Plant Gallery has everything you need to do just that. This family-owned establishment has been in the plant business since 1991. While they started in the French Quarter with just two employees, they now have a staff of 60 professionals and a 5,000-square-foot space with a gift center and greenhouses. Their garden center has everything you need to DIY your landscaping, including plants, accessories, pots, and outdoor fountains. They also offer landscaping services in case you prefer to leave this task to the pros. 
  1. Ninth Ward Nursery: 2641 Deslonde St., New Orleans, LA, 70117
    Want to create a fun, tropical look in your outdoor space? Check out Ninth Ward Nursery! They specialize in the bamboo and tropical plants you need to turn your yard into a relaxing oasis. Their nursery is open on the first Saturday of each month from 9 am until 5 pm and by appointment. You can also find them at pop-up plant sales and markets throughout the New Orleans area. Need a little help? They also offer residential landscaping and monthly plant maintenance. 
  1. Perino's Home & Garden Center: 3100 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, LA 70002
    With 65 years of experience, Perino's Home and Garden Center is well-known as one of the area's premier growers. They carry everything you need including flowers, plants, shrubs, and annuals. You'll also find all the landscape materials, outdoor decor, and furniture you need. Best of all, Perino's is located not far from some of the best Metairie homes for sale, so you can easily stop by while you're out that way.  
  1. Banding's Nursery: 26300 Highway 190, Lacombe, LA 70445
    If you're in the area checking out Lacombe homes for sale, you'll want to pay a visit to Banding's Nursery. This local, family-owned nursery has been serving the New Orleans area since 1960. They have a huge selection of plants, trees, and shrubs and are open seven days a week. You can head over and wander through the greenhouses, pre-order your plants, so they're pulled and ready when you arrive, or conveniently order online. They even offer free delivery for orders over $100. 
  1. Rose Garden Center: 4005 Westbank Expressway, Marrero, LA 70072
    Not far from some of the best Marrero homes for sale, Rose Garden Center carries everything you need to beautify your outdoor space. Here you'll find a wide selection of both ornamental and edible plants and plenty of garden supplies. It's also a pet store that carries a selection of freshwater fish, small animals, and select reptiles. 

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in the New Orleans area, you're in luck! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. Search for New Orleans homes for sale on our website!


How to Celebrate St Patrick's Day in Lafayette

St Patricks Day Lafayette

St. Patrick's Day is the second most popular party in Lafayette! This year, there are plenty of ways that you can get out and join in the fun with your family and friends. So put on something green and get ready to make some memories that will last a lifetime.

  1. St. Patty's Day National Bubble Day - Royal Day Spa, 302 Coyote Trail, Maurice, LA 70555
    There is nothing better than spending a day at the spa relaxing with your children and closest friends. This St. Patty's Day, head on over to the Royal Day Spa on March 13th from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. They will have green and gold nail painting, a green tea party, some mini-massages, karaoke, bubbles, and much more. It is also an excellent time for you to meet other parents in the area and talk about the Maurice homes for sale that have caught your eye.
  2. Patty in the Parc - Parc International, Garfield St, Lafayette, LA 70501 
    Sir Mix-A-Lot, Wayne Toups, and L.A. Roxx are headlining this year's celebration of Patty in the Parc on March 14th at 5:30 pm. This party is one of the hottest in town, and it's one that you don't want to miss if you enjoy good music and great times. Music starts at 6 pm, and you need to make sure to leave the coolers, food, and outside beverages in the car. Children under 10 get in free and be sure to wear some green so you will fit into the crowd that you can expect to gather.
  3. Celtic Bayou Festival - Warehouse 535, 535 Garfield St, Lafayette, LA 70501
    Europe may seem like a world away, but the fact is that you can get a taste of it right here in Lafayette. All you have to do is make your way into the Celtic Bayou Festival on March 14th. This family-friendly event will feature a Guinness Cook-Off, Bailey's Bake-Off, Jameson Pub Crawl, and so much more. Who knows, you might see a few Lafayette homes for sale on your way to the party. 
  4. 8th Annual St. Pat's Comedy for a Cause - Magdalen Place, 2 S Magdalen Square, Abbeville, LA 70510
    Each year for the past eight years, the Rotary Club of Abbeville brought together some of the funniest talent this side of the Mason-Dixon line. If you enjoy a good laugh, then you won't want to miss the 8th Annual St. Pat's Comedy for a Cause. This year's hilarious celebration will take place on March 21st at 5 pm. Funds raised will go towards local causes and groups! Stop by after checking out Abbeville homes for sale

We encourage you to contact us to learn more about the many festivals and celebrations that happen in the area each year. Our REALTORS® are happy to tell you about the fun you and your family can have when you move into Lafayette or Maurice. From parks to parties, there is never a dull moment when you are ready to find a good time. 


7 Ways to Reclaim Your Unfinished Space

Reclaim Unfinished Space

Whether it's an attic, basement, or extra room in your home, you don't need to spend big bucks on a full renovation to make it a warm, welcoming space. Lots of people searching for Baton Rouge homes for sale look for additional space like an attic room or finished basement. Below, Our REALTORS® share some helpful tips on how to make unfinished spaces livable and lovable.

  1. Clean Out the Space
    Remove all boxes, tools, and everything else you have in your attic or basement, including appliances. If you're finishing your attic and replacing insulation, take out all the old insulation as well. Having a clean slate to work with and plenty of room to move around can help you plan and complete your project more efficiently and quickly.   
  2. Dry Out a Damp Basement
    If you're looking to cozy up your basement, it's important to make sure it's dry and smells good. Unless you have a problem with water entering or flooding your basement, a dehumidifier should do the job nicely.
  3. Paint
    A fresh coat of paint can transform a room. Cinder block and poured concrete can end up looking pretty stylish if you choose the right colors or get creative and paint a bright mural on the wall. If you're painting an attic, using a light, neutral color like gray, greige, or beige can make it feel more open and expansive.
  4. Add String Lighting
    Nobody likes the stark look of a naked bulb hanging from the ceiling. With just an electrical outlet or two, you can bring more light to your space and create a warm glow by hanging strings of lights. Not only that, they look super cool hanging from the rafters.  
  5. Accessorize
    Throwing down some area rugs will keep your feet warm and make the floor pop. If you're in a dark area like a basement, don't be afraid to use bold colors for furniture, cushions, pillows, and other decorations. Hanging curtains in strategic places can divide a room and help create cozy nooks that are perfect for reading or napping. You can also soften the look of the ceiling by hanging swaths of fabric to create an attractive canopy.
  6. Add Storage
    Regardless of which room you're fixing up, you can always use more storage. Shelving, plastic bins with lids, and even tension rods can give you a ton of space to store stuff, so you have more room to enjoy your new space.
  7. Research Building Codes and Permits
    If you're making significant changes, you may need a building permit before you to get to work, especially if you're knocking down or building any walls. Find out the local building code specifications for ceiling height requirements, exits, electrical wiring, ventilation, and other important elements you may be modifying. If you decide to install or upgrade the electricity in the room, make sure to have a licensed electrician do it to ensure all wiring is up to code. While saving money by doing it yourself sounds nice, having a professional take care of it ensures it's done correctly and avoids fire hazards.

Whether you're looking to buy or sell a home in Baton Rouge, our knowledgeable real estate professionals can help. Contact us to learn more and get started on finding your new Louisiana home.


6 Places to Play Basketball in Lafayette

Basketball in Lafayette

Time to turn off the basketball games on TV and hit the basketball courts! In addition to improving agility, endurance, and other physical skills, basketball helps develop hand-eye coordination, confidence, and social skills. Perfect your layup or three-point shot at these six basketball courts near Lafayette homes for sale.

  1. Girard Park Recreation Center - 500 Girard Park Dr., Lafayette, LA 70503
    While you might head to Girard Park Recreation Center for a game of hoops, you'd be forgiven if you ended up getting distracted. There's a 1.25-mile trail circling the perimeter of the park along with a 1/3-mile paved walkway around a tree-lined pond with a pavilion. Girard Park also has tennis courts, a pool and rec center, a softball backstop, a disc golf course, and a large playground. Hours are 6 a.m. - 8 p.m., seven days a week.

  2. Comeaux Recreation Center - 411 W. Bluebird St., Lafayette, LA 70508
    Everyone can stay active at the Comeaux Recreation Center with the center's aerobics, karate, and kids' fitness classes. Comeaux also gets high marks for their summer camp during June and July that includes several fun field trips. Rec center hours are 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily except weekends when closing time is 4 p.m.

  3. Domingue Center - 901 Mudd Ave., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Domingue Center uses basketball and other activities as a means to create a greater sense of community. Their basketball court is the site of Hoop Dreams, an annual game between Northside High School students and the Lafayette Police and Sheriff Departments. Build strength and stamina in the "Dungeon," an on-site gym fully equipped with free weights and machines. Domingue Center is open at 2 p.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

  4. George Dupuis Recreation Center - 1212 E. Pont Des Mouton Rd., Lafayette, LA 70507
    Basketball is just one of the great activities offered at George Dupuis Recreation Center. Their Stretch-n-Grow program for kids aged 4-12 gets them away from the video games and into aerobics, nutrition, and behavioral skills. The center also hosts community events such as brunches, athletic competitions, and even a group baby shower. Hours are 3 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. on weekdays.

  5. Thomas Park Recreation Center - 301 Geraldine Dr., Lafayette, LA 70503
    A stunning Louisiana sunset makes a beautiful backdrop for basketball, tennis, and other outdoor activities at Thomas Park Recreation Center. Don't be surprised to see a lively kickball game taking place on the spacious grounds. When it's raining, head inside to the indoor court or Zumba classes. The center is open at 3 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday.

  6. Heymann Park Center - 1500 S. Orange St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Thanks to its location near the Vermilion River, you might get a bonus wildlife sighting during your visit to Heymann Park Center. The basketball court is across the parking lot from a full-size baseball field, and the park is well-known for its 18-hole disc golf course. If the tennis court is full, there's a tennis wall where you can practice your backhand while waiting your turn. Hours are 2 p.m. - 9 p.m. on weekdays.

When it comes to helping you buy or sell a home, our REALTORS® sink a three-pointer every time. Contact us today!


Where to Buy Crawfish in Baton Rouge

Crawfish Baton Rouge

While some areas mark the arrival of spring by robin sightings or flowers blooming, people in Baton Rouge eagerly await the beginning of crawfish season. March is prime time to enjoy Louisiana's iconic treat at these popular seafood restaurants and markets that are favorites with our REALTORS®.

  1. Tony's Seafood Market & Deli - 5215 Plank Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70805
    Surprisingly, Tony's Seafood Market & Deli began its existence in 1959 as a produce stand. But founder Tony Pizzolato quickly realized he could draw many more customers around Baton Rouge homes for sale by adding fresh crawfish, shrimp, and crab to his offerings. That decision led to Tony's becoming the largest seafood market in the Gulf South, selling up to 50,000 pounds of live and boiled crawfish per day during peak season. In a hurry? Pick up one of their famous plate lunches to go. Hours are 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily except Friday and Saturday when hours are extended to 7:30 p.m.

  2. Heads & Tails Seafood - 2070 Silverside Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    However you like to enjoy crawfish, you'll find it on the menu at Heads & Tails Seafood. Try it in étoufée, on a po' boy or fried to a tasty crunch. Specialties include Cajun crawfish eggplant and Poor Sloppy Pierre po' boy with fried crawfish tails topped with étoufée and pepper jack cheese. Before you leave, get some fresh, boiled or frozen crawfish to go along with fixings like a crawfish boil, roux, or étoufée base. Heads & Tails is open from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. 

  3. Crawfish Xpress - 57965 Laville St., Plaquemine, LA 70764
    After viewing Plaquemine homes for sale, stop in at Crawfish Xpress and take home some delicious seafood. Corn and potatoes are available as sides to go with the live or boiled crawfish, shrimp, and crab. Can't wait till you get home? Get an order of crawfish nachos to nibble on in the car. Crawfish Xpress also has a convenient drive-thru window. Hours are noon - 8 p.m. seven days a week.

  4. Rouses Market - 58440 Belleview Hwy., Plaquemine, LA 70764
    Anthony J. Rouse, Sr. opened the first Rouses Market nearly 60 years ago. Today the third generation of the family is running the 64-store company with the same commitment to responsibly sourced seafood as their grandfather. Over the years, Rouses has developed and maintained relationships with top local fishers. The market carries seafood that is either wild-caught in natural habitats or raised in quality aqua farms. Hours are 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily.

  5. Montalbano's Seafood & Catering - 12740 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70815
    Montalbano's Seafood & Catering is a true labor of love for the father-and-son team for whom the company is named. Randy, Sr. spent more than 25 years working in the wholesale food industry, while Randy, Jr. managed his own crawfish catering company after graduating from college. Their namesake business is both a sit-down restaurant serving lunch and a market selling fresh and boiled seafood as well as fully-prepared meals for carry-out. Montalbano's is open 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filé gumbo, you'll have big fun on the bayou living in Baton Rouge. Contact us for experienced help with all your real estate needs.


Remodeling Cost vs. Value 2020 - For Lafayette Homes

Remodeling in Lafayette

Remodeling key areas of your home can improve quality of life while you're there plus help maximize value when you sell. Our REALTORS® know that choosing the right project is crucial to getting the best financial outcome, which is why we're sharing a closer look at the 2020 Cost vs. Value Report for Lafayette homes.

Remodeling Cost vs. Value 2020 – For Lafayette Homes

The Right Projects to Maximize Your Investment

  • Window Replacement – Wood or Vinyl
    Just about everyone shopping for Lafayette homes for sale will be looking for energy efficiency and a home with good climate control. Replacing old windows with new wood or vinyl windows edges out a few other projects for the top ROI on our list.
  • Minor Kitchen Remodel
    When it comes to remodeling the kitchen, more isn't always better. A minor kitchen remodel will cost significantly less out of pocket, and ultimately allows you to recoup more cash than most room remodeling projects.
  • Garage Door Replacement
    You want buyers to be impressed from the moment they arrive at the property, and an old, worn down garage door can dampen their enthusiasm. Garage door replacement is a relatively low-cost project, with a strong return.
  • Roofing Replacement – Asphalt Shingles
    Most buyers will head for the hills if the roof of the home appears to be in rough shape, and fresh shingles go a long way toward making your roof look its best. For Lafayette homes, asphalt shingles offer a much better return than metal roofing.

Remodeling Projects with Solid Return on Investment

  • Bathroom Remodel – Mid-range or Upscale
    In Lafayette, upscale remodels of the bathroom, kitchen, or master suite offer better ROI than in many other cities. Whether you go mid-range or upscale, a bathroom remodel is often an excellent place to invest.
  • Master Suite Addition
    A master suite addition is the most expensive item on our list, but when done right, it can also add major value. Opting for mid-range over upscale will typically cut the cost in half, but both options should allow you to recoup a significant portion of your investment.
  • Major Kitchen Remodel
    While a minor kitchen remodel may offer the best bang for your buck, a major kitchen remodel still finishes very close behind. The cost will be significantly higher than a minor remodel, but getting the kitchen just right can be worth it.
  • Deck Addition – Wood
    Most people shopping for Lafayette homes will appreciate a well-maintained outdoor deck, and adding a wood deck is one project that won't break the bank. 
  • Siding Replacement – Fiber-Cement
    Curb appeal is a key ingredient in selling any home, and siding is the perfect place to start. Updating your home with fiber-cement siding is the most cost-efficient option, while vinyl siding finishes a close second.

Think Twice Before Undertaking These Remodeling Projects

  • Grand Entrance/Entry Door Replacement
    The entrance to your home is important for curb appeal, but a full remodel of that area doesn't offer a great return. Instead, try smaller projects.
  • Deck Addition – Composite
    When adding a deck to your home, choosing the right material is key. While wood decks are popular in Lafayette, decks made with composite materials have a significantly lower ROI due to the cost of materials.

When you're searching for the best ways to maximize the value of your home, you want a real estate team that you can trust. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Lafayette.


Home Improvement Tips for Beginners & New Homeowners

Home Improvement Tips

Even with all the home improvement shows out there, getting started on your own home improvement project for the first time can be intimidating. 

Our REALTORS® know home improvement can be especially frightening for new homeowners! Make sure to follow these six tips if you are working on your first-ever home improvement project. 

  1. Start with a Plan
    You should take the time to go around your new house to make a note of any potential improvements you wish to complete. Consider what order these items should be completed in and a potential timeline. For example, you may decide you want to replace windows before you paint a room to make sure you like that color with your new style of windows. 

    Also, make sure you are realistic with your timeline. It's always best to assume a project will run over on time or money. 

  2. Consider a Budget
    Speaking of money, a budget will help you visualize your finances so you don't overspend. Once you have a plan for improving your home, a budget will help you account for the specific items and supplies you'll need to complete your tasks. Keep in mind what projects you want to allocate more of your budget for. Maybe you'd like to save money on painting your rooms by DIYing but would like to splurge on smart appliances. It's completely up to you and your budget! 

  3. Do One Part of the Home at a Time
    Simple, right? Pick one part of your home that is on your plan and work on it to your satisfaction. If you are planning on a bathroom and kitchen remodel, wait until the one is completed to start the other project. You don't want to overwhelm yourself and bite off more than you can chew physically and financially. 

  4. Always Look for Inspiration
    Remember those home improvement shows we mentioned? Watching them can serve as great inspiration for your bathroom or kitchen remodel. Seeing how nice dark cabinets look after a remodel of someone's home on TV might be one of the reasons you opt for a darker hue for your new cabinets.

    Plus there are many ideas you can find online on sites such as Pinterest. Most of them will even provide tips for completing the project.  

    Another good source of inspiration could be your family and friend's homes. If you've had a friend recently complete a remodel in their home ask them for tips, what they DIYed, and if they used a contractor for certain aspects of their project. 

  5. Improve to Increase Value
    If you just moved in, you might not be thinking of your resale value at the moment. But, if you work on home improvement projects that are known to increase value, you'll thank yourself later if you end up listing it among the other Baton Rouge homes for sale. Projects that are known for increasing value are energy-efficient updates, new windows, or adding a bathroom. 

Looking for more home improvement tips or help finding your first home in the Baton Rouge area? Contact us today! 


New Orleans Mardi Gras 2020 What to Expect

New Orleans Mardi Gras

Carnival season is upon us! Whether you're attending Mardi Gras for the first time or looking forward to repeat performances from your favorite krewes, there's no doubt this is one of the best examples of why New Orleans is such a special place to call home. Our REALTORS® are ready for the celebrations, and we've put together a guide for what to expect from Mardi Gras 2020.

  • Get in Touch with Mardi Gras History
    History is never far from your front door with New Orleans homes for sale, and Mardi Gras is certainly no exception. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," which marks the final day of the weeks-long Carnival season and takes place on February 25, 2020. The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. It's a tradition that dates back centuries featuring the world's best parades, music, dancing, parties, costumes, and performances. Parades take place all around the city, but many roll Uptown or in the French Quarter. For some people, it's a yearly occasion, while it's a way of life for others!

  • Learn the Lingo 
    Throughout Carnival season, the parades and events you see are planned by local organizations called "krewes," who put together the costumes, themes, music, and of course, the elaborate floats that you see on parade. Each krewe has unique "throws," or small items that they toss to parade watchers. Throws can be anything from a simple set of plastic beads to an ornate trinket representing the krewe's theme. Learning about local krewes is a great way to plan for which parades you want to see most.

  • Get to Know the Krewes
    Many krewes organize parades throughout New Orleans and in other nearby cities. Typically the most established krewes hold their parades on Mardi Gras itself, but there are amazing parades to see every day of Carnival season. The irreverent, sci-fi Krewe of Chewbacchus is always a hit, while the Krewe of Cork is dedicated to wine and revelry. The Mystic Krewe of Nyx is one of the largest all-female krewes, while the Krewe of Elks-Orleans is the oldest truck float krewe. There are krewes of every shape and size, so everyone has their own favorites. It's wise to plan ahead to see your favorites because parade routes fill up fast.

  • There's So Much to See and Do at Mardi Gras 2020
    Mardi Grasis like a big party, but the Carnival season is also about history, culture, music, and celebrating the unique sense of community in New Orleans. Krewes often raise money for charity throughout the year and host elaborate balls during the Carnival season.

    There are also kid-friendly parades and plenty of events throughout the season for families to enjoy. You'll even find parades dedicated to dogs, so your four-legged friend can get in on the fun! Mardi Gras is never just one thing. It means something special to everyone who attends because you get to create your own experience each year.

The unique blend of music, dance, performance, history, and revelry that characterize Mardi Gras are on display all year long when you call New Orleans home. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the New Orleans area!


10 Fun Facts About Living in Lafayette

Living in Lafayette

Living in Lafayette is a truly unique experience, with a mix of history, culture, entertainment, and community that you won't find anywhere else. It's a city where songs always fill the air, and life moves at its own pace. Wondering what it's like to call Lafayette home? Our REALTORS® have you covered, with ten fun facts about life in Lafayette.

  1. Mardi Gras Is Outside Your Door
    You won't have to travel far to enjoy a traditional Mardi Gras celebration when you shop for Lafayette homes for sale. Lafayette has its parades, parties, and performances for Mardi Gras that rival anything in New Orleans.

  2. Cajun Culture Has Deep Roots in Lafayette
    Cajun culture began in Lafayette when thousands of French Canadians were forced to find a new home in 1755 and were offered refuge in the area. The Acadians, as they were known, embraced their new home and established a culture that still stands strong today.

  3. Warm Weather All Year
    The swamps, bayous, forests, and parks around Lafayette are a magnet for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. With warm weather all year long, you'll soon see why Lafayette is an outdoor paradise.

  4. Yes, You Can Buy a Daquiri at a Drive-Thru...
    While you can't take a sip until you get home, there are drive-thru daiquiri shops located around the city, serving cold, delicious drinks when you want to unwind.

  5. Practice Your French
    While you certainly don't have to know French to enjoy all that Lafayette has to offer, the city is a great place to practice if you're a French-speaker. You'll even have the chance to pick up unique regional dialects.

  6. Bring Your Dancing Shoes
    Live music can be found around every corner in Lafayette, and that means dancing is never far behind. If you love to break out your dancing shoes, then this is the city for you.

  7. Root for the Ragin' Cajuns 
    The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a huge part of the culture in the city, and everybody roots for the Ragin' Cajuns athletic teams all year long. One trip to the Swamp, the stadium where college football games are played, will have you cheering for the Ragin' Cajuns, too!

  8. Lafayette's History Is Truly Alive and Well
    This is a city that loves its history, and you'll find examples of that history around every corner. If you want to get in touch with the past, plan a trip to Vermilionville, a living history museum where you can experience what life was like here in the 1700s and 1800s.

  9. The Best Music Festival in Louisiana Is Free to Attend
    Lafayette is home to the Festival Internationale de Louisiane, a free four-day festival that attracts some of the world's best musicians, and features Lafayette's best cajun food.

  10. A Diverse Cultural Mix
    In many ways, Lafayette got its start as a city of transplants from far-flung locations, who created their beautiful community around the bayous. That pioneering spirit is still on full display today, and newcomers who embrace the city are welcomed with open arms.

We could keep going with dozens of more facts about why Lafayette is such a unique place to call home, but nothing beats experiencing the city first-hand! Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the area.


7 Tips for Moving to a New State

Moving to a New StateAny move - even if it's just down the street - requires a great deal of time and organization. But when you're moving to a new state, your list of things to do becomes longer and more complicated.

Our REALTORS® suggest the following seven tips to help you make your move to another state as smooth as possible:

  1. Start with a Checklist
    Keep an ongoing checklist of what needs to be done and give each item a deadline. Add to your list as you think of additional tasks, so you'll stay organized and focused on what you need to do and when you need to do it by.

  2. Do Your Research
    Find out everything you can about your new home before you move. You'll be able to learn what the average high and low temperatures are, how much in taxes you'll pay, the quality of local schools, and places you may frequent, such as shops and restaurants. This research will help you feel at home more quickly after you make your move.

  3. Find a New Home
    A real estate agent in your new state can help you find a home before you make your big move. He or she will know the area well and have inside knowledge of its housing market. This can help your home search go more quickly and will leave you more time to take care of all your other moving tasks. Also, when you make your move, you'll get to know your neighbors and will get to explore what your new community has to offer.

  4. Secure a New Job
    If you don't already have a job lined up out of state, search job sites and contact any friends and family already in the area to try to secure employment. This can take a massive weight off your shoulders and give you a way to quickly meet people and become a part of your new state. It can also make your finances more stable after you move.

  5. Let Your Friends Know
    Send an email to your friends sharing news of your move, also including your new address. You can also post your plans on social media, text them, or go old school and mail cards containing the pertinent information.

  6. Understand New Requirements
    States often give you a certain amount of time after you become a new resident to get a new driver's license and license plate. The requirements vary by state, so you'll need to check their Department of Motor Vehicles website or give them a call to see what documentation you'll need and how much time you'll have to get your new license and car tag.

  7. Hire a Reputable Moving Company
    Ask friends, co-workers, and family members for moving company recommendations. Depending on your budget and on how much of the move you'd like to take care of yourself, you can hire help for large items or for everything in your home. 

Contact us if you're moving to Louisiana and are looking for Baton Rouge homes for sale. Our knowledge and experience can help make your move go as smoothly as possible as you become a Louisiana resident. 


What to Look for When Buying a Condo

Buying a Condo

If you want to own your space, but don't want the upkeep associated with a single-family home, a condo is a terrific alternative. A condo is a single unit property that shares walls and structural aspects with other units. Condos have minimal exterior upkeep, and you often have access to a slew of convenient amenities. Here are a few things you need to look for when buying a condo to make sure it's a great fit for your needs:

Check That the Condo is Right for Your Lifestyle

An advantage of buying a condo is that there's a slew of different options that fit some various lifestyles. Before you contact one of our agents, take a few moments to contemplate the lifestyle that you live or want to live.

Perhaps you like to live an active lifestyle and want a unit in a complex with walking trails, a dog park, and a fitness center. You should look for a unit that fits your preferred lifestyle. Conversely, maybe you don't value a lot of extra amenities or don't need them. In this situation, you don't want to pay for amenities that you're unlikely to use. 

Research the Effectiveness of the Condo Association

The condo association is responsible for maintaining the condo complex. This includes the complex's exterior, shared areas, and on-site amenities. You want a proactive condo association that promptly deals with resident complaints and potential issues in the complex.

Ask for minutes from the condo association meetings so you can see how the association responds to resident complaints. If the same resident complaints regularly appear at multiple association meetings, this is a potential sign that the association is lax at handling the residents' concerns. 

Get a Full Breakdown of Costs 

When you purchase a condo, in addition to the monthly principal and interest on your mortgage, you'll pay a monthly condo association fee. This fee covers the costs required to maintain the condominium complex's exterior and shared areas as well as expenses necessary to operate the complex's amenities. Make sure that you ask for the unit's monthly condo dues before making an offer so that you can ensure it's not too expensive for your monthly budget. Note that condo association fees aren't tax-deductible. 

Learn More About the Condo Association Fee

Though a lower condo association fee sounds attractive, the amount of the fee shouldn't be excessively low. If the fee is too low, it won't cover the actual costs associated with maintaining and caring for the complex. Should this happen, there will eventually be a readjustment of the fee, and it will go up to account for this shortfall.

Instead of facing a future shortfall, look for a unit with a fee that's sufficient to cover the complex's expenses. Ask for more info about the condo complex's financials. The complex should have a repair fund that's being funded adequately based on the age of the complex and any anticipated repairs. This will prevent the residents from being hit with a huge increase in their monthly association fees. 

Feel like a condo might be the right fit for you? Call one of our REALTORS® today to set up an appointment or search New Orleans homes for sale!


Mardi Gras Celebrations in Lafayette

Mardi Gras Lafayette

What's the most wonderful time of the year? Some may say Christmas, or perhaps Thanksgiving. Louisianians, however, will agree that the most wonderful time of the year is Mardi Gras! If you've never experienced Mardi Gras in Lafayette, 2020 is the perfect time to immerse yourself in this festive culture that's unlike any other. Our REALTORS® insist that you plan your visit to Lafayette during Mardi Gras this year so you can enjoy every minute of fun! 

Friday, February 14th, 2020

  • Krewe de Canailles Walking Parade — Corner of Cypress & Jefferson, Lafayette, LA 70501 | 7 – 9 PM
    Inclusivity, sustainability, and creativity — those are the values of the Krewe de Canailles Walking Parade, known this year as A Parade Without Barriers. Anyone can create their own krewe and join the parade as long as their float is powered by people, and anything thrown is eco-friendly.

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

  • Krewe de Chiens — Lafayette & Vermilion Streets, Lafayette, LA 70501| 2 PM
    The Krewe de Chiens is a parade for dogs that seeks to reduce the number of unwanted animals in Lafayette. Grab your four-legged krewe and join the parade through downtown Lafayette.
  • Carencro Mardi Gras Parade — Carencro High School, 721 W. Butcher Switch Rd., Lafayette, LA 70507 | 11 AM
    Join the Carencro Mardi Gras Association for this family-friendly parade running from Carencro High School to Carencro Community Center. This is the 37th edition of the Carencro Mardi Gras Parade and has been regarded as one of the highlights of the Mardi Gras season in the upper Lafayette area.
  • Krewe of Carnival en Rio Mardi Gras Parade — Cajun Field, 2351 W. Congress St., Lafayette, LA 70506 | 6:30 PM 
    Experience Mardi Gras with a Brazilian flair with the Krewe of Carnival en Rio Mardi Gras Parade. This premier Mardi Gras event in Acadiana will keep you dancing all night long!

Friday, February 22nd – 25th

  • Le Festival de Mardi Gras — Throughout Downtown Lafayette 
    The Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette, hosted by the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association, hosts a variety of parades, celebrations, and festivals leading up to Fat Tuesday, including a Children's Parade, King Gabriel's Parade, Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Parade, Independent Parade, and Queen Evangeline's Parade.

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

  • Krewe of Bonaparte Mardi Gras Parade — 698 E. Simcoe St., Lafayette, LA 70501 | 6:30 PM
    The Krewe of Bonaparte was founded to encourage young people to get involved in Mardi Gras festivities in Lafayette. Along with their Mardi Gras Parade, they also host a Pre-Parade Party before the parade with food, drink, and face painting for those in the krewe.

Fat Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

  • Grand Marais Mardi Gras Parade — Grand Marais, 7304 Hwy. 90 E., Jeanerette, LA 70544 | 11 AM – 3 PM
    The family-oriented Grand Marais Mardi Gras Parade takes place during the afternoon of Fat Tuesday and features the most original costumes in Lafayette.

Would you like to live in the center of the best Mardi Gras parade routes? Contact us today, and we'll help you find Lafayette homes for sale!


What You Need to Know About Using a VA Loan in 2020

VA Loan

Will you be relying on a VA loan to purchase a home this year?

Many individuals are eligible to finance their homes using the VA loan program. This immensely helpful assistance program helps our veterans secure a home that meets their lifestyle and financial needs. Our team has experience helping our active and retired military members, which is why we've created this quick guide informing all veterans of the changes to VA loans occurring in 2020.

These programs will enable you to secure financing without requiring a down payment or mortgage insurance. It's common for VA loan program rules to be adjusted slightly due to new legislation or modifications to the program based on industry changes.

Changes Taking Effect on January 1st, 2020

On January 1st, 2020, a new law will go into effect that expands VA disability benefits and impacts home loan limits.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 became law in June and will go into effect immediately in 2020. This law was created to provide relief to veterans who served in the Vietnam War, specifically those who suffered medical complications that were presumably caused via exposure to herbicides or "Agent Orange." These individuals can provide financial compensation from the VA to treat their conditions.

How Does this Impact VA Loan Benefits?

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 addresses many other issues, along with Agent Orange medical compensation. This law affects a variety of factors that those serving during the Vietnam-era, Korean-era, and Gulf War-eras can benefit from, including removing restrictions on VA loan limits.

Currently, if you wanted to purchase a home using a VA loan that costs more than the FHA limit, you would have to contribute a down payment that covers roughly 25 percent of the difference. Luckily, this new law removes the loan limit veterans are eligible for, allowing them to purchase homes of higher value without requiring a down payment.

Also, there are loan fee changes associated with this new law. When receiving a VA loan, many veterans are subject to a "funding fee" unless they are receiving disability benefits from the VA. As the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 goes into effect, it will eliminate this fee for Purple Heart recipients as well. However, all other veterans will see a funding fee increase from 2.15 percent of the loan amount to 2.30 percent. Fees for those who are not first-time homebuyers with the VA loan will see fee increases from 3.3 percent to 3.6 percent.

The removal of loan caps and the small increase in funding fees is believed to make homeownership more accessible for veterans while funding the medical coverage for those who were injured during the Vietnam, Korean, and Gulf Wars.

For veteran assistance buying Baton Rouge homes for sale, contact us today! Our REALTORS® will help you navigate the VA loan changes and secure the home of your dreams. 


Sellers: Make Your Home Smarter in 2020

Smart Home Features

The idea of smart home technology is no longer limited to the technologically-inclined or the uber-wealthy. Homeowners have embraced technology and up to 81% of homes are considered "smart." If you're interested in selling your home in 2020, here are the top smart home features that our real estate agents think you should install in order to appeal to buyers.

  • Smart Security Systems
    When it comes to smart home features, home security systems are at the top of a home's buyer's wish list. Everyone wants to feel safe and secure in their homes. Many buyers want to see the system in place before they make the purchase. The home security system integrates well with other home devices, including door locks, smart lights, and smart thermostats. Since the security system can connect to different devices, you can easily connect and access it on-the-go. Whether you need to lock your doors or view your security cameras, you can do anything from anywhere. Also, these systems can send alerts if suspicious movements are detected.
  • Smart Thermostats
    Many of these app-enabled smart home devices "learn" your family's daily habits when it comes to temperature regulations. Some smart thermostats use motion sensors to determine if you're at home and automatically adjust the temperature for you. This helps make your home more comfortable temperate wise and can help you save money on your electric bill. Also, thermostat settings can be adjusted with remote access as long as it's connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network.
  • Smart Lighting Systems
    Buyers are looking for better lighting systems. Smart lighting is changing how homeowners control lighting, improve security and conserve energy with home connectivity and simple voice commands. Installing LED lights is great, but what about being able to control all the lights in the home directly from your smartphone? For instance, it can be costly to leave lights on in several rooms when you're on vacation because you don't want anyone to know you're not around. Smart lighting systems allow you to switch the lights on and off in various rooms and at various times. In addition, they easily connect to other IoT devices, helping property owners create energy-efficient smart home environments.
  • Smart Appliances
    Homebuyers are not content with home appliances being simply energy-efficient. They want more. How about a smart fridge that lets you search for recipes online, create a grocery list, control the temperature, and even listen to music while you cook. Or an oven that allows you to download preprogrammed recipes so your food comes out perfect each time. You can even watch a movie or enjoy the pool while checking on your dinner directly from your smartphone.

With the added protection, ease of use, and convenience, you will not be disappointed when you add these smart home features before you put your house on the market. Contact us to learn more about our New Orleans homes for sale.


How to Declutter Before a Move

Declutter Before a Move

Like most people, you probably have stuff piled up around the house that you didn't even know you owned. Moving an overstuffed junk drawer or duplicate items you don't have use for doesn't make sense. 

Decluttering helps decrease the weight of the items you're moving, makes the process less stressful, and saves on moving costs. Our REALTORS® have six useful tips to keep moving day as stress-free and inexpensive as possible.

  1. Start Early
    Don't wait until moving day to decide what to pack and what to get rid of. It could take a couple of days to complete the decluttering process. So plan at least two weeks and spare a few hours every day to go through a different room or storage area in your home. By giving yourself enough time to go through all your stuff, you won't be tempted to throw everything in the boxes and be done with it.
  2. Start Small
    It can be disheartening to look at a house full of stuff you have to sort through. It can also be tempting to put it off and promise yourself you'll do it on moving day or even after you moved into the new place. This is why you need to start small. Start with a dresser, a closet, or a home office. Don't try to clear an entire room at once because it can be draining and might extinguish your motivation. 
  3. Set Up Four Piles- Keep, Donate, Sell, Trash
    Before you begin decluttering, have trash bags, markers, and a shredder ready to help with the process. Have four labeled boxes handy as you tackle one area after another. The boxes should be for items you want to keep, sell, donate, and throw away. Take out the trash immediately after the decluttering session. You can take pictures of things you wish to sell, list them online, or hold a garage sale. For the things you're going to keep, try to pack as much as you can.
  4. Practice Letting Go
    It is not always easy to know what to keep and what to let go of as you go about decluttering your house. As a general rule of thumb, throw it away if it's damaged. If you haven't worn some clothes for over a year, think about donating or selling them. When it comes to seasonal clothing, sort through all of them and evaluate what you should keep and what you should let go. Decluttering also offers an excellent opportunity to let go of duplicate items and gifts you'll never use. If you're a keeper, maybe you should find a "tosser" to help you make the not-so-easy decisions.
  5. Check Expiration Dates
    Go through your pantry and bathroom and throw out anything past its prime. Check for expiration dates or think to when you purchased a certain item. Things like spices can last for several years, but their potency doesn't last longer than six months or so. Use this time to toss cookbooks you haven't opened for years and any strange appliances you don't have use for.
  6. Keep Going
    Set aside time, at least every day or every weekend to declutter. And make it fun. Reward yourself after you're done with a weekend session. You'll be motivated to put in more effort and feel better prepared when moving day comes.

Are you looking for Lafayette homes for sale? Our team can help streamline the process. To learn more, contact us.


8 Things You'll Love About Living in Baton Rouge

Living in Baton Rouge

Home is where the heart is, and there's a lot to love about Baton Rouge. In honor of Valentine's Day, our REALTORS® share the top features that make Baton Rouge such a lovable place to live.

  1. Vibrant and Diverse Neighborhoods
    Whether you're a college student, young professional, parent, or retiree, you'll find Baton Rouge homes for sale in a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle. The city has a thriving downtown area with good walkability. Other popular neighborhoods include Spanish Town, Garden District, Bocage, Hundred Oaks, and Broadmoor.

  2. Low Cost of Living
    On the cost of living index, 100 equals the national average. Baton Rouge has a score of 96, making it lower than the U.S. average as well as cities of similar size, such as Boise, ID, and Richmond, VA. Also, experts at renowned business and personal finance website Kiplinger rank Louisiana in the top 10 tax-friendly states based on income and property taxes, so you retain more of your paycheck living in Baton Rouge. 

  3. Plentiful Amenities
    Who wants to travel for miles because you forgot to pick up milk, or you need to get a flu shot? AreaVibes, an online site that rates cities based on several liveability factors, gives Baton Rouge their top score of A+ for easy access to grocery stores, retail shopping, medical facilities, and other desirable amenities.

  4. Lively Music Scene
    While Louisiana is home of the blues, Baton Rouge made its contribution to the genre with the birth of swamp blues, a unique style incorporating elements of zydeco and Cajun music. Several night clubs and concert venues around the city feature swamp blues as well as other popular music styles. Highlight of the year is the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, a free, family-friendly two-day event that draws iconic musicians such as Mavis Staples, Charlie Musselwhite, and local legend Buddy Guy.

  5. Short Commute Time
    According to Sperling's Best Places, which has been analyzing and publishing data about people and cities for more than 30 years, average commute time in Baton Rouge is 21.4 minutes. That's a full five minutes less than the national average of 26.4 minutes. 

  6. Warm Climate
    With summer temperatures sometimes topping 90°F, air conditioning is a must. But with an average temperature of 68°F and an average snowfall of zero inches, Baton Rouge is far removed from the bitter winters found in many other parts of the country. Baton Rouge also enjoys an average of 214 sunny days each year, well above the national average of 205.

  7. Food Lover's Paradise
    It's no surprise that Baton Rouge offers the finest in classic Creole and Cajun cuisines, along with the freshest seafood around. If you want to expand your culinary horizons, the city is home to a rich and varied assortment of ethnic restaurants serving Middle Eastern, Asian, Latino, and other global fares.

  8. Football Frenzy
    Football is America's #1 sport, and Baton Rouge is passionate about its LSU (Louisiana State University) Tigers, a perennial powerhouse frequently found at the top of the SEC (Southeastern Conference) and national rankings. On football Saturdays, LSU tailgating is a de facto food and beverage festival, giving Baton Rouge a national reputation as the tailgating capital of the world.

Contact us and let us help you find the home you'll love in the Baton Rouge area. 


How to Improve Your Home's Scent before Showings

Improving Home's Scent

Our sense of smell is a powerful force! Smells can evoke many feelings and emotions either positive or negative. If you're thinking of adding your property to the local market of Lafayette homes for sale, it's important to ensure your home smells good as a critical component of staging it to sell. Our REALTORS® share some tips for making your home smell fresh, clean, and appealing to buyers.

  • Do a Deep Cleaning
    Cleaning your house from top to bottom is critical to ensure it looks its best, but it also helps get rid of stale, nasty odors. Make sure to wash down walls, especially in the kitchen, to get rid of grease and grime, which can make your home pretty smell stale and dirty. If you're short on time or hate to clean, hire professionals to get the job done right.
  • Have Carpets and Curtains Professionally Cleaned
    Steam-cleaning carpets, rugs, and drapes can help them look like new and eliminate odors you never even knew existed. Once your carpets are cleaned, take a few moments to sprinkle them with baking soda and vacuum right before a viewing or open house. Baking soda is also great for scrubbing sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and other items. If you don't care for cleaning products with lots of fragrance, baking soda can eliminate tough odors while keeping perfumes to a minimum.
  • Wash Pet Beds, Toys and Accessories
    There's no getting around it—our furry friends can cause some stinky smells sometimes. Make sure to wash all pet bedding and blankets, clean the litterbox, and put items away or move them to more inconspicuous areas when showing your home. If possible, take pets to a friend or family member's home during an open house or showing.
  • Use Natural Scents to Make Your Home Smell Good
    Fake plug-in scents and heavily scented candles can leave buyers wondering what you're trying to cover up or even make them sneeze. If you want to add a pleasant aroma to your home, choose lighter scents like citrus, herbs, vanilla, and cedar. If you don't want to invest in a fancy diffuser, you can use essential oils with reeds that absorb the liquid and release the scent into the air. Simmering potpourri, herbs, or essential oils in a pot of water on the stove is an easy, affordable way to add a delightful olfactory ambiance to your home.
  • Pick Plants with a Pleasant Aroma
    Believe it or not, plants can clean the air and make your home smell better. Certain types of plants like scented geraniums, jasmine, lavender, rosemary, basil, gardenias, and orchids emit pleasant fragrances that can make your home smell flowery, earthy, or fresh. Not only that, staging your home with well-groomed plants can give it a bright, lively feel.

Want to learn more about how to prepare your home for sale? Whether you're in the market for a new home or selling the one you own, our experienced real estate professionals can help. Contact us to get started.


5 Reasons to Have a Home Inspection

Home Inspection Benefits

Home inspections are yet another expense for many potential buyers. Those with a little handyman knowledge might be tempted to skip these professional reviews, but that can have potential repercussions. Our REALTORS® share five important reasons to have a home inspection when buying New Orleans homes for sale.

  1. New Doesn't Mean Good
    You might be tempted to skip the inspection if the home was built in the last few years. Just because a home is new, doesn't mean it was built well. There is a myriad of problems that can occur with a new home that you might not be aware of. Rules and regulations can vary regionally or even by HOA, and not all contractors understand these specifics. Additionally, some constructions may be built poorly. When it comes to a new construction, it's best to get peace of mind and go through with an inspection. 
  2. VA Home Appraisals Aren't Inspections
    If you're pursuing a veteran's home loan, you'll have an appraisal done before your financing is approved. While this appraisal will note many potential concerns with a home, the list of criteria is different than that reviewed by an inspector. VA home reviews focus on the livability of a home right now, whereas inspections can identify both superficial fixes and potential problems down the road. Cover your bases and still go through with the home inspection. 
  3. Older Homes Can Have Hidden Issues
    Reality tv is full of shows on how to patch up and fix houses. While the pros make it look easy, it's best to know what exactly you are getting yourself into with your new purchase. A home inspection will help ensure you aren't getting tricked but flashy cosmetic fixes. An inspector can verify if there are structural issues or leaking pipes. The review will help note if that new tile falls off the wall or the paint covered up mildew on the wall. An older home is a fantastic purchasing choice, but it's best with no surprises.
  4. Not Everyone Follows the Rules
    Construction and home additions can cause problems. Many of these problems deal with permitting, as illegal construction can cause difficulties long-term. You would want to know if the beautiful new laundry room was built up to code and with a permit, especially if you plan to resell in the future. Worst cases may include disputes with neighbors or the immediate teardown of an addition done to "flip" the home.
  5. Knowledge is Negotiation Power
    Knowing what is wrong or needs potential fixes gives you negotiation power. Significant issues such as a foundation may warrant you reducing your offer price. Small issues can often be built into the sales price, such as a new garage door or replacement appliances. Your real estate agent can help you negotiate these points, but you first need to start with an inspection. In this case, spending the money on a home inspection can end up saving you money in the long run! 

Contact us for more advice on buying and selling homes in the New Orleans area. 


What You Need to Do Before Listing

Before Listing Figuring out which steps to take before putting your home on the market can be daunting. If you're unsure about how to prepare, our real estate agents can provide the guidance you need to get your home ready for listing. 

  • Research the Value of Your Home
    It's vital to do your homework to determine the value of your home. Check out listings of comparable New Orleans homes for sale in your neighborhood. Make sure you are comparing homes similar to yours in size, location, and features. Save this list of comparables and discuss them with your real estate agent.
  • Find a Real Estate Agent
    One of the best ways to find a good real estate agent is by word of mouth. Ask friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors if they've worked with someone they'd recommend. Interview a few agents and ask them about their experience selling homes in your area, the steps they'll take to sell your home, and how many homes they've sold. Don't be afraid to ask for references from former clients as well.
  • Make Minor Repairs
    Replacing hardware like knobs, drawer pulls, towel racks, light switches, and lighting fixtures is an easy and inexpensive way to make your home look updated. If any major repairs need to be done, talk with your real estate agent about the most effective way to take care of them.
  • Paint
    A fresh coat of paint throughout the house does wonders for its appeal. You don't have to do anything fancy—make sure you choose neutral colors like taupe, beige, or greige. Depending on the condition of the outside of your house, you may want to consider having it professionally painted.
  • Declutter & Depersonalize
    Clearing clutter and depersonalizing your home will make it more appealing to buyers, and you'll have less stuff to move when you're ready to go. A good rule of thumb is to donate, sell, or pitch items you haven't used or worn within the last year. Packing up family photos, books, knick-knacks, and other personal items makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize living there. 
  • Clean
    You'll be surprised at what a difference a deep cleaning can make when it comes to the look and smell of your home. Shampooing rugs and carpets helps get rid of stains and odors. Make sure to get windows and trim sparkling clean. If you don't have the time or desire to DIY, hire a professional cleaning company to come in and clean it for you.
  • Stage Your Home
    Staging your home can help it sell faster at a higher price. Take out any excess furniture and create cozy sitting areas in spaces like the living room. Remove all small appliances from the counters in the kitchen, take any magnets off the fridge, and accessorize with fresh, new tea towels. The same thing goes for the bathrooms—remove or hide away all toiletries and invest in new rugs and towels. And don't forget the outside— curb appeal is the first thing that draws potential buyers in. Make your yard, landscaping, and your home's exterior look neat and tidy. 

Are you ready to buy or sell your home in the New Orleans area? Contact us to get started.


8 Tips for Remodeling Your Kitchen

Kitchen Remodel

When Our REALTORS® bring potential homebuyers out to explore Baton Rouge homes for sale, there are always a few details that can make or break the buying decision. The design and layout of the kitchen is one of them. 

Whether you're thinking about putting your home on the market soon or you're planning to stay for years, a kitchen remodel is almost always a great investment. However, if you're not well-prepared, this is the type of project that can take on a life of its own. 

The following tips will help you make sure that creating your dream kitchen doesn't turn into a real nightmare.

  1. Pad Your Budget
    Despite best intentions, home remodeling projects almost always end up coming in over budget. This is particularly true if you're taking on a DIY project. Make sure you're prepared to deal with unexpected issues by adding 10 to 15 percent of the amount you plan to spend. If you don't end up spending it, you'll come out ahead, but if you run into a bump in the road, having the extra cushion will help you avoid financial stress. 
  2. Choose Your Appliances First
    Many homeowners make the mistake of waiting too long to choose their appliances. Make this decision early, so you have exact measurements to work with. Otherwise, you'll find that it's difficult or impossible to get a proper fit. 
  3. Don't Scrimp on Storage
    When remodeling a kitchen, it's always a good idea to incorporate as much storage as possible. Look for creative solutions like corner lazy Susan's, pull-out drawers, or strategically placed hanging racks. 
  4. Add Extra Outlets
    Don't forget to add plenty of electrical outlets throughout the kitchen. Not only is an overloaded outlet inconvenient and unsightly, but it's dangerous. 
  5. Don't Forget the Trash
    Like it or not, a trash receptacle is an important part of your kitchen. Make sure you plan appropriately, or you'll find yourself with a nasty garbage can in the middle of your beautifully redesigned space.  
  6. Avoid Indecisiveness
    Remodeling your kitchen is a big project, and it's easy to get excited or overwhelmed. Make sure you make all of your plans before you start and commit to them. You might see a feature you love when you're half-way through the project, but making a change mid-way is rarely worth it. Not only will changing your plans extend the time it takes to complete your project, but it will likely cost you more as well. 
  7. Go with the Pros
    A kitchen remodel is a big project that the average person shouldn't try to take on themselves. Although you may think you'll save money by doing your own work, it's likely to cost you in the long run. Professional contractors have the skills, knowledge, and tools to do the job right. 
  8. Don't Take On Too Much
    Beware of taking on a kitchen remodel project that's just too much to handle. If your kitchen needs that much work, you may want to consider foregoing the remodel and looking for a new home that already has the features you're looking for. 

Have you decided that it's time to make a change? Whether you're thinking about buying or selling a home, we can help make it a smooth and pleasant experience. Contact us today. 


How a Real Estate Agent Determines Home Value

Real Estate Agent Determine Home Value

If you're selling your home, you want to price it reasonably, so it doesn't languish on the market, but you don't want to price it for less than you could sell it for. Our REALTORS® use research, knowledge, and experience to determine your home's value. The following are some ways we can determine this value:

  • Using a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

    Real estate agents can run a comparative market analysis that will look at comparable homes that have sold in the area within the past 90 days. The most accurate comparisons will come from homes that are close to yours geographically, are similar in square footage, and have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

    CMAs can be quite detailed, including the average and median sale prices for comparable homes, the number of days they were on the market, and other information that will help your real estate agent most accurately determine your home's value. Also, he or she can look at comparable homes currently for sale. If other houses in your neighborhood are on the market, you'll want to be competitive unless your home has attributes that set it apart.

  • Having Experience in Sales Negotiations

    Home sale prices don't always tell the entire story. Experienced real estate agents know that finalized deals may involve some concessions. So although a comparable home may have sold for a particular amount, it doesn't reveal the fact that the seller may have helped pay closing fees. Or they may have made other concessions, such as providing a flooring allowance to help the buyer upgrade out-of-date carpeting.

    A real estate agent's experience and knowledge can help him, or her know about some of the concessions that may not be reflected in the sale price. They may have helped broker the deal, or they can often get information by talking with another agent who handled the sale.

  • Adding Price Adjustments

    Although a CMA yields some invaluable information, your agent won't depend solely on formulas. Adjustments in prices will be made because each home is different. And these differences can influence the value of each home.

    For example, your home may have slightly more square footage than a comparable home, so your real estate agent may adjust your home value to consider this difference. Or it may have nicer landscaping that will help command a higher price. On the other hand, another similar home may have had upgraded appliances included with the home, so your home may be valued somewhat lower.

  • Being Aware of Other Factors

    Factors that are beyond your control can affect the value of your home. Your real estate agent knows that when mortgage interest rates fall, more people can afford to buy a home and can afford a higher price tag. Of course, the opposite is true when interest rates rise.

    The time of year your home is on the market can also affect your asking price. 

Contact us if you're interested in selling your home. Our real estate agents know how to determine your home's value, so it's comparable with similar Baton Rouge homes for sale.


7 Tips for Moving with Pets

Moving with Pets

It's no secret that packing all your belongings and moving them to a new home is always a little bit stressful. While most humans take this in stride, a move can wreak havoc on our furry friends. Luckily, there are ways you can help keep everyone calm and comfortable throughout the process. 

  1. Update Their Tags and Chips
    Our REALTORS® always like to remind homebuyers with pets about the importance of updating their tags and microchips. Before your move, make sure both have your current cell phone number. This will help you reunite with your pet if something happens on moving day. Once you're moved into your home, don't forget to update everything with your new address. 
  1. Talk to the Vet
    There are several reasons to talk to your vet before a move. First, if your pet is overly anxious, you may consider asking for some medication to help smooth the transition. If you're moving out of town, you'll also want to get a copy of your pet's medical records. Consider asking the vet if he or she can recommend a practice in your new hometown. Ideally, you'll want to find a new vet before you move, so you're prepared in case your pet needs treatment soon after you relocate.  
  1. Pack Their Bag
    Keep your pet as comfortable as possible by packing a bag or box with everything they'll need during the first few nights in your home. This includes at least a few days of food, dishes, toys, treats, bedding, crate, and any medications.
  1. Keep Them Away from the Action
    During the hustle and bustle of moving day, there are far too many opportunities for your pet to escape or get injured. Don't take this chance! Instead, consider bringing them to a boarding facility for the day or asking a friend to care for them. If this isn't an option, make sure to keep your pets crated or in a safe place while the move is taking place. 
  1. Take Them in Your Vehicle
    When it's time to leave the house, plan to bring your pets with you in your vehicle. Cats and small dogs can easily be restrained in a crate while larger dogs may need to go in a kennel in the back seat. Make sure to add plenty of blankets or bedding to keep them comfortable. 
  1. Slow Adjustment
    It's best if you can get your house set up as much as possible before bringing home your pets. This means having furniture in place and setting up their food and water bowls, bed, and (for cats) their litter box. Remember that your pets don't understand what's going on and may need some time to get comfortable. Allow them the space to do so. When they're ready, slowly start to introduce them to the neighborhood. 
  1. Maintain a Routine
    To help calm your pet's nerves, do your best to keep things as normal as possible. If they were used to eating at a certain time or going for walks every morning, try to maintain that schedule. With just a bit of patience and some extra TLC, your pets will handle the move like champs and quickly settle into their new home. 

When it comes to finding Lafayette homes for sale your whole family will love, we're here to help. Contact us and will help you find a home for you and all your pets to enjoy in Lafayette! 


Staging and Selling with Kids: Tips for Parents

Staging and Selling with Kids

Parents know that clean and kids can mix like oil and water. While it adds an extra hurdle to adding your house among the New Orleans homes for sale, it's entirely possible to sell and stage a home with kids -- and our REALTORS® are here to help.

Try these four kid-friendly tips for staging your home and getting your whole family on board for selling your home. 

  1. Move Kid Things to Kid Rooms
    Most potential buyers will want to see a living room full of potential, not a packed den with the playpen, tummy time mat, forts, and a train track. While buyers won't want these items front and center, a home is often a family purchase, so it's okay to have these items in the right place. A tasteful nursery or second bedroom with bunk beds still opens the door for new home buyers to plan and dream.
  2. Pack up Unused Toys
    You might not realize it, but you have too many toys in your home. That's why you need to sort and pack before you stage and show your home. Realistically, there is no way that you'll keep a full overload of toys neat and tidy for any length of time. Move larger unneeded items to storage. For example, that mini trampoline can probably go away for a few months, or the three-story dollhouse can be packed from the living room until your next place.

    This is also an excellent opportunity to remove smaller toys that are no longer being used. Ask your child to help you pick ten favorites for right now, and box up the rest. While sorting, you can work towards donating items that you won't need at the next house, too, drastically reducing clutter both here and there.
  3. Discuss Future Goals
    If your child is at an age where they understand what moving means, let them get in on the action and making some decisions. Help your child embrace the changes by making things new and exciting. Ask your children to help choose a neutral color so the next kid in their room can take a turn at decorating. Also, discuss with them how they'll want their new room decorated. By empowering your child to help make new beginnings, you'll make it easier to remove overly personal items or decor and make your home purchase-ready.
  4. Ask Other Adults for Help
    A piece of advice that probably goes without saying is getting some extra adult support throughout the process. Mention to your friends and family your selling goals. Some might be able to pitch in with babysitting or offer storage space for toys. A few hours with a babysitter or a playdate is a great way to occupy your children while you work on cleaning before a showing or open house. 

Need more tips for staging and selling? Our real estate agents are ready to guide you on the next steps.  Contact us today!


Where to Get King Cake in New Orleans

King Cake in New Orleans

If you've been to NOLA, you know that birthday cakes and wedding cakes don't hold a candle to our celebrated King Cakes. Each year, the King Cake Festival takes over Champions Square and offers up samples of the finest King Cakes from around the city. If you're looking for a local bakery where you can grab your own to take home, our REALTORS® got you covered. 

  1. Angelo Brocato — 214 N. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119
    For over a century, the family of Angelo Brocato has churned out the best ice cream in the French Quarter. It's only natural that they bake up an equally delectable King Cake to sit alongside their custard-based gelato. Don't take our word for it — stop by and celebrate the King Cake Festival, your birthday, or simply the fact that you live in one of the tastiest cities in the country with a King Cake all to yourself!

  2. Manny Randazzo King Cakes — 3515 N. Hullen St., Metairie, LA 70002
    How amazing are the King Cakes at Manny Randazzo's? They're so good that their award-winning Pecan Praline King Cake was dubbed the "King Cake King" in 2012. Exclusively baking King Cakes, Manny Randazzo's has a line around the corner every season as hundreds of locals and visitors eagerly anticipate sinking their teeth into one of these renowned King Cakes. Trust us, these King Cakes are worth the wait! Pick one up after looking at Metairie homes for sale.

  3. Adrian's Bakery — 4710 Paris Ave., New Orleans, LA 70122
    Adrian's Bakery delivers a taste of New Orleans so scrumptious, you'll be thankful that this sweet shop sells goodies throughout the year. Their savory King Cake is certainly one of the highlights of their menu. If you're cruising by the University of New Orleans, stop by to sample one of their fresh pastries.

  4. Bywater Bakery — 3624 Dauphine St., Bywater, LA 70117
    Straight from the Culinary Institute of America, Bywater Bakery's chef Chaya brings her talents to NOLA to share her love of baking beautiful food. Bywater Bakery is a fantastic place for breakfast and lunch, as well as a reliable source for specialty catering, but her cakes are her signature staple. As the bakery's name suggests, this location is close to Bywater homes for sale. Order up a King Cake and one of her famous Chantillies — there's no such thing as too much cake!

  5. Breads on Oak — 8640 Oak St., Ste. A., New Orleans, LA 70118
    The artisan bakers at Breads on Oak aren't just pastry chefs and bread bakers — they studied the Old World French bread techniques that made New Orleans one of the greatest bread cities in the country nearly a century ago. These bakers put just as much study and effort into every made-from-scratch King Cake they create. Don't fill up on King Cake alone, though —Breads on Oak also has an amazing menu of all-vegan, made-by-hand dishes like sandwiches, pastries, soups, and more.

  6. Dong Phuong's Bakeshop — 14207 Chef Menteur Hwy., New Orleans, LA 70129
    DP Bakeshop
    invites your taste buds to experience New Orleans cooking with Vietnamese flair. As one of the first Vietnamese bakeshops in the city, DP's experimental take on New Orleans' classics is unlike anything you've had in the bayou. We promise you won't be disappointed!

New Orleans is a sweet place to call home, and not just because of the King Cake! If you'd like assistance buying New Orleans homes for sale, contact us today.


New Year New Hobbies to Try in Baton Rouge

Hobbies in Baton Rouge

The New Year has arrived, and our REALTORS® want you to kick off the decade with a bang! As we move into the 2020s, make a resolution to learn a new skill. From dancing and cooking to art classes and more, here are a few of our favorite places around Baton Rouge, where you can fall in love with a new hobby!

  1. Ric Seeling Dance Studio — 10776 N. Harrells Ferry Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70816
    We're in the Roaring '20s now — surely, you need to know how to dance for such an occasion. Head to the Ric Seeling Dance Studio and get your feet moving! All adults — from classically-trained dancers to those with two left feet — are invited to this premier studio for group or private lessons. You'll receive top of the line instruction in country, hustle, Latin, ballroom, and of course, swing dancing! It may take two to tango, but rest assured you can come alone and get matched with a partner of the same experience level.

  2. Create Studios — 546 Bienville St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    Do you have a creative passion but struggle to find the medium that's right for you? Create Studios is the perfect place to express yourself while learning different art forms. They offer classes in a diverse array of arts, including etched glass, stained glass mosaics, metal stamping, jewelry design, and painting. Paint an Andy Warhol-inspired pop art of your pet or design your own Mardi Gras chandelier out of beads for your new home. Bring your imagination and a few beads — Create Studios will take care of the rest!  

  3. Louisiana Culinary Institute — 10550 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70816
    Anyone who's lived for a day in Baton Rouge knows Louisiana has some of the best food. If you've ever wanted to learn how to make a few of our hometown favorites in your own kitchen, now's your chance! The Louisiana Culinary Institute offers adult classes specializing in Creole and Cajun dishes. Imagine whipping up your own tasty batch of boudin, gumbo, maque choux, or jambalaya without ever leaving home! Sign up for classes and make 2020 the year of amazing dinner parties!

  4. LSU Museum of Art — Shaw Center for the Arts 100 Lafayette St. 5th Floor, Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    Art is part of Louisiana's lifestyle, and the LSU Museum of Art invites adults to immerse themselves in this world of creativity and culture at the Shaw Center for the Arts. Their interesting and educational programs teach you about art while helping you create your own. Along with lessons, they have other weekly events such as free admission to the museum on Friday nights and Yoga in the Galleries. Whether you're an artist or merely appreciate beautiful works, the LSU Museum of Art will quickly become your new favorite hangout.

  5. BREC — 6201 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    Here's a great resolution — make an effort to spend time surrounded by Louisiana's wonderous natural spaces this year! BREC makes it easy to enjoy the great outdoors with its engaging programs. Belly aerobics, badminton, BMX, and ballroom dancing are among the many heart-pumping classes offered. For a more relaxing experience, you can attend an astronomy lecture, watch a movie in the park, and enjoy one of their many weekly special events. 

Looking for a new home in 2020? For help scheduling appointments to tour Baton Rouge homes for sale, contact us today!


7 Ways to Prepare for an Open House

Prep for Open House

Hosting an open house is a tried and trusted method for selling your home. However, you need to do more than put a sign out front. Before you host an open house, the following are seven steps our REALTORS® recommend to prepare your home for prospective buyers.

  1. Clean Out the Clutter
    Cleaning out clutter opens up the floorplan and makes the home feel more spacious. You will also want to remove valuables such as jewelry, heirlooms, and other items that you don't want to include in the sale. Removing items helps protect your possessions. Further, if prospective buyers don't see appliances or fixtures they won't ask to negotiate these as part of the sale.
  2. Conduct a Thorough Cleaning
    Pay to have the carpets professionally cleaned. Dirty, dingy carpets will turn away even the most motivated buyer. Clean every corner, window, cabinet, and other surfaces so that the home looks as new as possible. You will want to organize closets, cupboards, and pantries so they appear neat and tidy. 
  3. Repair Damage
    You will want to take care of any cosmetic damage before the open house. Fixing broken tiles, repairing holes in walls, sealing drafts, etc. can go a long way towards enticing a prospective buyer to make an offer. Painting is also advisable, but you will want to make sure to do this as early as possible so that the home doesn't smell like fresh paint during the open house. 
  4. Make Arrangements for Your Pets
    Not everyone is a pet person. Having your pets running around during an open house can be a huge distraction to potential buyers. Consider sending your dogs, cats, and other pets on a mini-vacation. Take them to a friend's house or take your pup to a dog park. When they're gone, make sure the home is free of pet odors, dander, and toys when prospective buyers arrive. 
  5. Stage the Home
    It is worth every penny to pay for a consultation with a professional home stager. Often, a few simple changes in furniture positioning, curtain choice, or lighting can create a fresh, modern look that appeals to the types of buyers you want to attract.  
  6. Conduct a Final Spot-Check
    The day before, your open house is a big day. You will want to make sure the clutter is gone, the curtains are open, and the smells removed. You will also want to bake the cookies, prepare the refreshments, and make sure that all the marketing materials are ready to go when prospective buyers knock on the door.    
  7. Host a Broker and Agent Preview
    Agents and brokers are eager to find the best properties for their clients. Hosting a preview allows them to contact their clients who have expressed a desire for a property that matches your home's description, features, and location.    

Contact us to discuss the strategies we use to sell Lafayette homes for sale. It's our pleasure to develop a plan that will help you sell your home effectively!   


Lafayette Nightlife For Your New Year's Eve

Lafayette Nightlife

When it comes to celebrating New Year's Eve, people in Lafayette know how to party! 

New Year's Eve marks one of the biggest parties of the year, so why not celebrate in style? Go out on the town and party all night at these local venues.

Let's visit some of the top places for Lafayette nightlife where you can kick-off 2020 in the best way possible! 

  • The Wurst Biergarten – 537 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, Louisiana 70501
    The Wurst Biergarten is known and loved as the first restaurant of its kind in Lafayette. A top-ranked place to relax with a beer and enjoy good conversation, its robust selection includes a variety of beverages from across Louisiana and around the world. This downtown fixture also features classic German pub food and an authentic European setup.
  • The Tap Room – 201 Settlers Trace Boulevard #4001, Lafayette, LA 70508
    Found in beautiful River Ranch, The Tap Room has a warm pub atmosphere with food, drink, and sports among friends. Chili cheese dogs, Reubens, and pastrami are joined by a handful of surprises like the delicious banh mi. You'll enjoy the enticing array of rotating taps and the seasonal mix of both foods and cocktails. The Tap Room is also heavily involved in local charities.
  • Blue Moon Saloon & Guesthouse –  215 East Convent Street, Lafayette, LA 70501
    Every day is a party at this saloon! Blue Moon is known far and wide for its weekly Cajun Jam, which takes place on Wednesday evenings. There's always someone new to meet at the Blue Moon, recognized as one of the 100 Best Bars in the South. If you're in the area for New Year's Eve, consider celebrating at one of the best bars in the South.
  • The Greenroom – 229 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA 70501
    The Greenroom is a place to sample local craft brew selections while shooting a game of pool or playing some fast-paced foosball. Pieces by local artists adorn the walls, and there's always something going on. Trivia nights, karaoke, and theme parties liven up the event schedule along with live music and – of course – holiday get-togethers such as New Year's Eve.
  • Artmosphere – 902 Johnston Street, Lafayette, LA 70501
    Ring in 2020 at a venue that offers an artistic spin on Lafayette nightlife. Artmosphere can best be described as a neighborhood bar, meets an art gallery, meets a cozy music venue. Not only can you get a great drink at the bar, but you can also take in some of the art on display or check out the local shows going on. Perfect for Lafayette residents who love supporting local artists!

New Year's Eve or any time of the year, Lafayette has plenty to offer.

If 2020 is the year you plan on looking at real estate in the area, we can help you search among the Lafayette homes for sale. Maybe next year, you'll be hosting your own New Year's Eve party!

Contact us to find out more. Our REALTORS® look forward to assisting you in 2020! 


7 Helpful Tips for Buying Your First Home in 2020

Buying a Home in 2020

2020 is nearly here, and there's no time like the present to start planning for your first home. Amazing Lafayette homes for sale are waiting!

There are lots of reasons people put off buying their first home. Our REALTORS® have the advice to give you a leg up in the new year.

These seven tips will clear the path to a home in 2020:

  1. Start Saving for a Down Payment Early
    If you only save for a few months, it's better than nothing! A more significant down payment offers all kinds of benefits. It may net better rates on your mortgage loan, and it will give you more flexibility about the amount you borrow. If your down payment is around 20%, you may even be able to skip certain types of mortgage insurance.

  2. Pay Off Any Debts You Can
    The debt you carry has a big impact on how lenders view your loan. As a rule, housing expenses should not cost more than about 30% of your income. Even a few small debts – a $35 credit payment here or there – can change the equation in your favor. Don't take on new loans or mortgages, but don't close credit card accounts: Your total credit eligibility works in your favor.

  3. Determine How Much You Can Afford
    Deciding how much house you can afford is a multi-step process. It not only includes the cost of buying and maintaining your home but also your other obligations and any income fluctuation. A holistic view of your finances is essential. It's a good idea to set up a detailed budget and have everyone who will contribute money to the household review and comment.

  4. Get Preapproval From a Lender
    Preapproval is an essential step toward securing your mortgage loan. This is when you submit documentation of your finances and learn the loan amount you're qualified for. Although this isn't a formal loan agreement – that comes after you select a home – it is close enough that you can bid on homes without delay.

  5. Connect With a Great Real Estate Agent
    A real estate agent will help you navigate all the best neighborhoods in your area of choice. Take your time with the decision of which agent to work with. Asking plenty of questions will leave you with a better sense of an agent's knowledge and whether you feel comfortable.

  6. Stick To Your Budget (Or a Little Less!)
    Once you have preapproval, you have a reasonably good idea about your price range. However, always leave extra in the budget for closing costs. Closing costs can range from 2% to 5% of the property's sale price. It is crucial to leave room for closing, so you don't have to scramble for last-minute financing.
  7. If An Opportunity Arises, Negotiate
    There are times when negotiation can save you thousands of dollars. For example, a home inspection may turn up issues that need to be fixed immediately. Or, you may discover the other party is motivated to sell and will trim the price to accelerate the process. Your real estate agent can help you choose the right approach.

We've supported hundreds of first-time buyers throughout Lafayette, Acadiana, and the Gulf South. To get started, contact us.


8 Ways to Improve Your Home in the Winter

Winter Home Improvements

It's easy to nest inside during the winter, so while you're at it, take some steps to improve your home! Whether you have a small budget or a plethora of money to spend on a project, here are some ways you can improve your home this winter:

  1. Install and use a programmable thermostat
    A programmable thermostat can help make your home more energy-efficient and more comfortable. Program it to switch to a lower temperature while the family is at sleep or school or work and then raise the temperature before you get up or return home. 

  2. Maintain your HVAC system
    Change your furnace filter regularly to help it operate efficiently. Also, have your HVAC system checked out by a professional once a year and as soon as possible after noticing a problem.

  3. Seal the leaks
    Seal any leaks around your home that allow your heated air to escape outside and cold air to make it way inside. Caulk any gaps around windows and replace worn weather stripping around doors. If you don't already have storm windows and doors, having them installed can also help make your home more comfortable.

  4. Fertilize your home's landscaping
    A little time and effort now can help your landscaping look better in the spring. Before the weather gets too cold, spread some fertilizer for your trees, shrubs, and grass to help them stay nourished throughout winter.

  5. Insulate your attic
    Insulating your attic can help lower your energy bills while helping your home stay more comfortable over the winter. Even if you already have insulation, it may not be enough and may also have gaps and other problems. Inspect your insulation, and if necessary, replace it or add to it.

  6. Clean out your closets and declutter
    Winter is the perfect time to declutter since you're spending time indoors and will want to make room for new items you or your kids receive as holiday gifts. Go through your closets, cabinets, and drawers and throw out or donate what you no longer need or want. If you get a receipt for donations, you may be able to deduct the value of your items on next year's taxes.

  7. Refinish your hardwood floors
    Refinish your hardwood floors so they look their best when you entertain for the holidays. This also gives your floors added protection, which will come in handy as your floor traffic increases.

  8. Paint your walls
    Paint can have a big impact on your home's appearance for a relatively little expenditure of time and money. A fresh coat of paint, especially in a new color, can also help brighten your home during dreary winter months.

Contact us if you're looking for New Orleans homes for sale. Our REALTORS® can help you find a home you'll enjoy living in, no matter what the season!


How to Stage Your Home for Real Estate Photos

Real Estate Photos

You only get one chance to make a first impression! Today's homebuyers do most of their decision making before they see the property in person. Photos of a home for sale, in most cases, will be the first impression buyers will get of your property. So staging for these photos is crucial!

Our real estate agents have gathered these tips to help you stage your home like a pro:

  1. Kick Clutter to the Curb
    If you want your house to stand out from the other Baton Rouge homes for sale, the first thing you need to do is declutter. Make sure all countertops and other surfaces are clear. Put children's toys and other items away in closets or storage, and remove all personal items like family photographs. 
  1. Think Like a Photographer
    When staging your home, think about how it looks for the camera, rather than worrying about comfort or function. In this case, you'll want to focus on things like lighting and angles. Your photographer and your real estate agent should be able to help you with this. 
  1. Present a Clean Home
    It's also important to make sure the entire home is as clean as possible before the photo session. Things like dust bunnies or streaks on the windows can make a poor impression. If you're not sure you can do it on your own, consider hiring a cleaning company. 
  1. Pay Attention to Details
    Small details, like forgetting to put the toilet seat down, can also ruin your photos. Take a moment before the photographer starts shooting to look through the home one last time. Make sure to fluff pillows, smooth out wrinkles on the beds, open the blinds, and turn on the lights.  
  1. Less is More!
    It's great to have some furniture and decor in the home, but be careful not to overdo it. Keep things simple and stick with neutral colors or a single color scheme in each room. When decorating, strive for symmetry and repetition as this is naturally aesthetically pleasing. You want potential buyers to envision the space as something they can personalize. 
  1. Boost Your Curb Appeal
    Remove all vehicles from the driveway, make sure trash cans and children's toys are put away, and remove anything else that pulls attention away from your home's curb appeal. Mow the lawn a day or two before the photoshoot, make sure your edges are neat, freshen up your mulch, and sweep the sidewalks. Consider adding some potted plants on the porch and a simple wreath on the front door. 
  1. Add Some Fresh Flowers
    Never underestimate the power of adding some fresh flowers to your home. This will add a splash of color and some class. Choose a simple vase and strategically place the flowers on your kitchen countertop or the coffee table. 
  1. Consider Hiring a Professional
    While it certainly is possible to stage your own home, this is a task that's often best left to the pros. Great staging can mean the difference between selling your home quickly for top dollar and having your house linger on the market for far too long. In most cases, this is a service that's well worth the investment. 

If you're thinking about listing your home, don't go it alone! Contact us today to get started. 


Cajun Country Run Race Spotlight

Cajun Country Run

Lace-up your favorite running shoes — the Cajun Country Run is racing back into Lafayette to go the distance for another year. Acadian's oldest half-marathon is the second race in the Le Courir des Cadiens race series and one exciting morning that you do not want to miss! If you're planning a visit to browse Lafayette homes for sale, our REALTORS® encourage you to pay a visit to Acadian Park to watch — or even run — in this annual holiday event.

  • Date: December 14, 2019
  • Starting Location: Acadiana Park 1205 E. Alexander St., Lafayette, LA 70501
  • Distance: 5K, 10K & Half Marathon

Race History

The Cajun Country Run was founded in 2002 and 2010, became a substantial supporter of Transportation Recreation Alternatives In Louisiana. TRAIL helps the running community of Louisiana blaze new trails by enhancing opportunities for outdoor recreation. A 10K race was added in 2012, and the 5K was added a year later. The race has evolved over the years and now offers runners five individual options for competing on both paved roads and dirt trails. Certified by the USA Track & Field, the 5K, 10K, and half-marathon of the Cajun Country Run are part of the Courir des Cadiens series of racing events.

The Courir des Cadiens Race Series includes three annual races that increase in distance at each subsequent event. The first race of the year is the Tour des Atakapas, which occurs during the Festivals Acadiens et Creoles. The Tour des Atakapas hosts distances of 3, 5, and 7 miles and also includes a run-paddle-run duathlon. Festivities follow this October event.

Cajun Country Run 2019

The Cajun Country Run follows the Tour des Atakapas. The third and final race in the Courir des Cadiens Race Series is the Zydeco Marathon. This event challenges racers to endure a half marathon or marathon run to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

This year's event will bring tidings of great joy to winners of the race. One of the hallmarks of this event is the Special Gator Head trophy awarded to the winning male and female in each category. The fastest winners dressed as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, as well as the best dressed Claus couple, will receive special prizes. All winners will walk away with a Santa's sack full of goodies from local sponsors.

For nearly 20 years, the Cajun Country Run has been a beloved holiday race for Lafayette runners. Warm food and cold beer will be served after the race, so gather up some friends and get to know the community.

For more information on the Lafayette community and buying homes in the area, contact us today!  


How to Sell Your Home During the Winter Months

Sell During Winter Months

It's no secret that fewer people are looking at New Orleans homes for sale once the seasons change. After all, most buyers aren't excited about home shopping or moving taking up time in their holiday schedule. 

However, if you're thinking about selling your home soon, not all hope is lost! Our REALTORS® sell homes all year long and know exactly what you need to do to make your home more appealing during the winter months. If you follow these tips, you have a great chance of selling your home well before the spring thaw. 

  1. Crank Up the Cozy
    Play up the winter season and make your house extra cozy and appealing. Remember, though, that the goal is to keep the house warm and comfortable without being stifling. If it's a colder day, make sure the heat is on, but not in an overwhelming way. You want to prove to buyers that the heating unit works when it needs to. 
  1. Add Some Sound
    The ambiance is critical for making your home feel welcoming, and the right type of music can make a big difference. Play some festive holiday tunes, light jazz, or soothing classical sounds. Just be sure to keep the volume low enough, so it's not disruptive. 
  1. Pay Attention to Lighting
    Short, dreary winter days are your enemy when it comes to selling a home. Combat this by making sure all light fixtures are clean and working correctly and switching to brighter bulbs. Also, open curtains and blinds to let the natural light come in.

    Don't forget about outdoor lighting. Since it gets dark out early, there's' a good chance buyers will come by the home during twilight hours. Make sure the front porch is well-lit and consider adding some landscape lighting for an easy boost to your curb appeal. 
  1. Keep Things Simple
    It's fine to get into the holiday spirit, but when you're trying to sell your home, less is more. Avoid putting up a tree that takes up half the living room or Griswald-style outdoor lights. As much fun as this may be for you and your family, it can be a turnoff for some potential buyers. Keep your holiday decor small, simple, and understated. 
  1. Spruce Up Your Online Listing
    Most buyers begin their journey by looking at homes online. During the winter months, it's even more likely that buyers will rule out a home based on the internet listing without ever going to see it in person. Make sure your listing stands out by using a great photographer and ensuring the home is staged appropriately. 

Don't let the holidays hold you back from looking into selling your home. If you're thinking about listing your home, there's no time like the present. Contact us today to learn how we can help! 


Holiday Gifts for First-Time Homebuyers

Gifts for Homebuyers

With the holidays around the corner, it's a good time to start making a list and checking it twice. Our REALTORS® know all about Baton Rouge homes for sale and gift ideas for those who recently purchased them! Get gift inspiration for the first-time homebuyer in your life with our list of top holiday gifts below. 

  1. Tool Box
    If there's one thing a first-time homeowner will appreciate, it's a well-stocked toolkit. Owning a home means taking responsibility for ongoing maintenance and everyday DIY projects. And while we certainly hope your new home doesn't need repairs any time soon, it's always good to be prepared. Choose a toolbox that comes with all the essentials, like pliers, socket wrenches, a hammer, tape measure, drill, and assorted drill bits. 

  2. House Plants
    Nothing brightens up a new home like a few splashes of green. House plants don't just look great. They also improve air quality inside your house. Plus, if you know someone who is buying a house in winter, they'll probably be grateful for some extra greenery. 

  3. Coffee Supplies
    Upgrading from an apartment to a house usually comes with some major kitchen upgrades, so it's also an excellent opportunity to up your coffee game. For the coffee lover on your list, spring for some new and improved coffee-making gear, like a French press or pour-over kit, along with some freshly roasted beans. 

  4. Garden Tools
    For the new homeowner with a green thumb, a fresh set of garden tools offers an opportunity to turn that brand new yard into a dream garden. Even if you know someone who is moving into a second-story condo, some simple tools and pots allow them to create a lovely container garden on the balcony or patio. 

  5. Art
    Nobody likes staring at bare walls. Moving into a new house often means a lot more room, and most new homeowners find themselves desperately looking for fresh artwork to liven up the space. If you know an artist, now is a great time to commission them for a painting. 

  6. Grilling Gear
    Chances are if you know someone who is buying their first home, they're probably eager to host their first backyard barbecue. Help them out with the gift of a new barbecue grill and maybe some grilling tools. Whether it's a small hibachi grill for balcony barbecuing, or a full-sized charcoal or gas grill for the back patio, they'll surely be grateful. Chances are you'll be repaid with an invitation and some great food. 

  7. Gift Cards
    Usually, a gift card is an excellent way of saying, "I give up - pick your gift!" But for the new homeowner on your list, a gift card can be a lifesaver. Owning a home comes with a lot of needs and expenses they may not have even thought of yet, and a gift card to their favorite hardware or home and garden store will allow them to get what they need to make their new house a home. 

Thinking about becoming a homeowner this holiday season? Contact us to learn more, and talk to one of our REALTORS® about finding your dream home.


Here's What to Do if You're Inheriting a House

Inheriting a House

Our REALTORS® handle all types of real estate transactions and are experienced in helping those who have inherited a home wade through any potential issues. Our team recommends following these steps in order to ensure a smooth process. 

Take Care of Business

Updating the homeowners insurance policy right away is vital. Making sure your coverage is current, and all necessary changes are taken care of ensures your property is protected. If there's a mortgage on the home, contact the lender and stay current with payments. This goes for property taxes as well. 

Contact all utilities to update account and contact information. You can cancel unnecessary ones but make sure the bills for other utilities are paid on time every month. If you're not around to take care of cutting the grass or yard work, you may want to hire someone to do upkeep until the house is sold or occupied.

Empty it Out

When someone passes away, some of the toughest tasks include going through their things, deciding who gets what and getting rid of the things no one wants. If you and your siblings have inherited a home, gather everyone there, and take turns choosing the items you'd like to keep. Let the grandchildren have a turn and include any other relatives that you think are appropriate. Once everyone has had a chance to take what they want, the rest can be sold at an estate sale or donated. Try to take care of it as soon as you can. Although this process can be painful, putting it off can be costly, both financially and emotionally.  

Decide What to Do

It's also important to make a decision about whether you want to move into the house, sell it, or keep it as a rental property. There are a few important points to consider when weighing your options. Before you take action, get a home inspection to make sure you're aware of any repairs or needed maintenance. It's also important to find out if local municipalities will reassess the home's value. If so, the property taxes may be much higher, which is an important factor to keep in mind.

When siblings inherit a home as joint owners, things can get tricky. You'll all need to agree on what to do, or the issue could end up in court. If you want to live there, you can buy your siblings out by mortgaging or refinancing the property. You may also come up with another arrangement, like paying them in monthly installments until they are paid for their share in full. Another way to resolve the issue is to make the house part of your share of the total estate. It's also important to talk to a professional about the income tax implications of each option.

Whether you decide to occupy the home, rent it out, or listing it among the Lafayette homes for sale, each option has its advantages and drawbacks. Seeking the advice of an experienced real estate agent is an excellent way to find out which choice meets your needs and lifestyle.

Still, have questions about what to do when inheriting a home? We can help. Contact us to learn more.


Holiday Events in NOLA You Don't Want to Miss

NOLA Holiday Events

The holiday season is bound for the bayou, and our REALTORS® want to tell you about all of the uniquely NOLA festivities happening around town. Here are few family-friendly Cajun holiday events to put on your schedule.

  1. Jingle Bugs — Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium 6500 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70118 | Dec 14
    At the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, there are plenty of creatures to celebrate the season. Their Jingle Bugs event features a Gumdrop Scavenger Hunt, holiday treats, face painting, magic shows, a visit from Pupa Noel, and storytime with Santa Claus. These wonderful kid's activities are included with general admission and present an interactive, educational holiday experience for little ones.

  2. Teddy Bear Tea — The Roosevelt New Orleans 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112 | Dec 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 19 - 24
    Join Santa and Mrs. Claus at The Roosevelt for Teddy Bear Tea. Elves will have delicious food and pastries ready for kids, as well as a few special drinks for parents. Seats will surely fill up for this elegant celebration, so be sure to buy your tickets soon!

  3. New Orleans The Polar Express Train Ride — Union Passenger Terminal 1001 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113 | Dec 9 – Jan 1
    The Polar Express is a classic Christmas story, and now families in New Orleans can hop aboard this magical train ride throughout December. Children will relive the Polar Express story with a read-along accompanied by cookies and hot chocolate. Santa and his helpers will then hop aboard the train for caroling and photographs.

  4. Cajun Holiday Tea With Papa Noel — Spanish Plaza Wharf 1 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Dec 14 – 15
    Instead of jumping on Santa's sleigh, join Papa Noel on the Creole Queen Steamboat for holiday tea atop the Mississippi. This Cajun cruise is filled with children's activities like magic shows, storytime, and face painting. Kids and adults alike can enjoy festive treats and teas with Papa Noel— and even hold a live alligator! Celebrate the season the Cajun way with Papa Noel's two-hour-long cruises.

  5. Candyland Christmas Show & Breakfast With Santa — Deanie's Seafood Restaurant French Quarter 841 Iberville St., New Orleans, LA 70112 | Dec 7 - 8 and 14 - 15
    The Candyland Christmas Show hosted by Deanie's Seafood Restaurant is a holiday celebration you'll only find in NOLA. Take a fun visit to Candyland for face painting, arts and crafts, and sing-alongs. Kids can take their photos with Santa Claus and Deanie's Pincher, the Crawfish. With a full breakfast buffet and adult beverages available, this playful morning celebration will easily become your next family tradition.

Would you like to spend every holiday in NOLA? Contact us today, and we'll show you the best New Orleans homes for sale.  


Where to Celebrate the New Year in Baton Rouge

New Years in Baton Rouge2019 was a fantastic year around Baton Rouge. Whether you are celebrating a new job, new family member, or still searching for the best of the best Baton Rouge homes for sale to settle into, there are plenty of reasons to party. 

  1. New Year's Eve Under the Stars - Tsunami Sushi - 100 Lafayette St, Baton Rouge, LA 7080
    What's better than a tsunami of sushi and champagne at midnight? We can't think of anything, and this New Year's Party is the perfect opportunity to fill up and let off steam at Tsunami Sushi. The evening will feature a 5-course meal, champagne, and one of the best buffets and cash bars in the city. VIP table reservations are recommended, but you are still guaranteed to have a great time with a general admission ticket to this talk of the town terrace party.

  2. 4th Annual Ryan Foret Tradition New Year's Eve Party - Lamar Dixon Expo Center, 9039 Saint Landry Rd, Gonzales, LA 70737  
    Grab the kids and get ready to have some fun at the 4th Annual Ryan Foret Tradition New Years' Eve Party. This family-friendly event will start at 8 pm and go into the early morning hours. There will be plenty of soda, jambalaya, and fun to be had as the live band sets the beat for an evening everyone will enjoy. Those who wish are invited to BYOB as there will not be a cash bar on-site.

  3. Pants Party - L'Auberge Casino & Hotel - 777 L'Auberge Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70820
    Those who get the most out of life are those who live it by the seat of their pants. If you want to be a part of the hottest party in Baton Rouge, then don't wait to get tickets to the Pants Party at L'Auberge Casino. This year's soirée will feature multiple bands that will have your toes tapping 'till dawn. There will be a stunning light show that organizers guarantee will leave you in awe. At $40 a ticket, it is the hottest ticket on the bayou. 

  4. Roaring 20's New Year's Party- Lyceum Ballroom, 124 3rd St, Baton Rouge, 70801
    One of the best things about New Year's Eve is taking a look back at where we've been. It is a great way to see where we're going. You can do just that at the Roaring 20's New Year's Party on January 1st, 2020. It has been 100 years since the roaring 20's swept across America. Much has happened in the century since. However, one thing remains the same; folks still look back to the 1920s when they want to know how to plan the wildest party in town. Space is limited, so get your tickets for this much-anticipated event before the sequins dry on your flapper dress.      

Our REALTORS® encourage you to contact us for more information about the many sights, attractions, and events you can enjoy around Baton Rouge. It is our pleasure to answer your questions and help you discover the many reasons residents celebrate living in this jewel of the South.  


Guide to Closing Costs for New Home Buyers

Guide to Closing Costs

We make it our duty to support and educate our clients. Our real estate agents are true experts helping people buy and sell homes!

One area that raises a lot of questions for buyers is closing costs. Closing costs consist of a variety of administrative fees involved in turning legal ownership of a home over from one person to another. Most of the professionals whose work supports the transaction, such as attorneys and tax experts, are paid from this amount.

Other matters are settled by your closing costs, too: For example, insurance payments.

Closing costs can add anywhere from 2% to 5% to the total cost of your transaction. Many buyers seek to shift the costs to the seller or add them to the mortgage package. That requires savvy negotiating and clarity on your goals. No matter how you approach them, some closing costs are unavoidable.

Below are the categories of closing costs you'll find in all transactions:

  1. Lender Fees
    This can be expressed as a single "origination fee" or include an itemized list with processing fees, a credit check, taxes related to title transfer, flood certification as needed, courier fees, appraisal costs, administrative fees, and others. All of these represent different costs incurred by the mortgage loan provider that is recovered from the homeowner.
  2. Title Company Fees
    The vast majority of your closing fees are related to the title, the legal document that proves ownership of a property. You can reduce these costs by comparing different title services in your area. The title company is responsible for issues like title search, title insurance, and settling. In effect, they ensure that nobody else can claim to own the property later.
  3. Prepaid Costs
    Insurance obligations related to buying a home are usually set up through an escrow account. Prepaid costs include homeowners insurance and property taxes. One year of your homeowners insurance must be paid upfront along with about two months of premiums. You may also be required to pay anywhere up to six months of property taxes, which can be prorated.
  4. Discount Points
    Discount points are an optional expense equal to 1% of the loan amount. You can choose to buy them when you are settling your closing costs. The discount points you purchase are converted to lower your interest rate. Buyers with strong cash flow may wish to pay more upfront to maintain a lower cost of ownership, but it is entirely up to you.

In general, the more cash you can bring to a transaction, the less you'll ultimately pay in closing costs. In addition to discount points, it's possible to get exemptions from some prepaid costs if you make a down payment, usually 20%.

You should discuss your financing and negotiation options with your real estate agent. Your agent can maximize your leverage in reducing certain costs or shifting them to the other party in the transaction. By comparing several different lenders, you're more likely to get the best deal.

Contact us today to find out more. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Bakeries in Lafayette for Your Thanksgiving Desserts

Bakeries in Lafayette

Freshly baked bread, sweet pastries, and delicious treats of all shapes and sizes can be found at bakeries throughout Lafayette. With the holidays right around the corner, you can skip the baking for your holiday meals, and count on these Lafayette bakeries for a variety of treats! 

  1. Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop - 454 Heymann Blvd, Lafayette, LA 70603
    If you want to find the best pies in the south, look no further than the shelves of the Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop. You can order everything from apple and cherry to chocolate meringue and key lime. Everything is made to order, which ensures you always have a fresh piece to enjoy. 
  2. Langlinais Baking Company - 815 South Saint Antoine St, Lafayette, LA 70501
    Langlinais Baking Company is legendary for its po'boy's, breadsticks, burger buns, and hot dog rolls. Each has just the right amount of sugar and spice to make a nice meal. Their bread is always soft and served straight from the oven and make the perfect addition to every Thanksgiving meal.
  3. Bake My Day - By Appointment Only
    The folks at Bake My Day take great pride in delivering the very best pastries and treats for your holiday celebrations. You will fall in love with everything from their ragin' cajun chocolate cake spiked with cayenne and cinnamon, to the banana-rama laced with dark rum and brown sugar. You can also schedule classes where they will teach you the tips and tricks that will help you make your family's favorite treats. 
  4. Poupart Bakery, Inc. - 100 E. Vermilion St, #103 Lafayette, LA 70503
    With 40 years of experience under their chef's coats, the team at Poupart Bakery, Inc. are masters of the kitchen. They are experts at beignets, make a genuinely astounding bisque, and can create cakes and pies that will make everyone in the family smile. They can cook up a full catering order that includes everything from dinner rolls to fruit, vegetable, and cheese platters.
  5. Champagne's Market - 454 Heymann Blvd, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Champagne's Market is your one-stop-shop for everything on your Thanksgiving shopping list. From the savory to the sweet, they have a broad selection of fresh-baked foods. You can even pick up the champagne to go along with the Thanksgiving toast.    

Our real estate agents invite you to contact us to learn more about the many bakeries, delis, and shops in the area for the perfect Thanksgiving feast. We will even help you find the perfect new home for you to celebrate the holidays with your family and friends this year, next year, and for many years to come.    


Open House Checklist for Sellers

Open House Checklist

An open house is a perfect opportunity to showcase your home and make a good impression on potential buyers. Our real estate agents have hosted hundreds of open houses with clients and understand the pitfalls that can arise when preparing for the big event. This checklist can help you avoid common mistakes and allow you to stay competitive with others who are offering their Lafayette homes for sale.

Declutter and Organize

Getting rid of clutter and depersonalizing your home is a must for any open house. This process allows potential buyers to envision themselves in your home. Remove items like family photos, collectibles, and any pet beds or toys.

It's a good idea to leave pets with friends or family during an open house. Clean and organize closets and other storage spaces so potential buyers can get a good look.

Also, consider putting excess furniture in storage. It will make rooms appear bigger and give them a more refined look. Your real estate agent should be able to offer some staging tips before your open house. 

Do a Deep Cleaning

Whether you're a DIY type or prefer to hire a service, deep cleaning your home before an open house is vital. Make sure all carpets are cleaned, and hardwood and other surfaces shine. Baseboards, trim, ceiling fans and other hard-to-reach places should be free of dirt and dust. Wash the windows inside and out, and don't forget to tidy up the garage, yard, deck, and front entrance.

A good power washing and a fresh coat of paint on the front door can work wonders for curb appeal.

For the finishing touch after you clean, a little scent goes a long way. So avoid overdoing candles and air fresheners. Your home should smell naturally fresh.

Take Care of Maintenance and Repairs

Painting the inside of your home in neutral colors such as beige or gray is one of the most affordable ways to make your house more attractive. Patch and sand any holes in the walls or ceilings before painting. Another inexpensive way to make your home look updated is by replacing plate switches, drawer and cabinet pulls, and light fixtures. If any major work like roof repairs needs to be done, take care of it before putting your home on the market.  

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

If you want your open house to be successful, it's essential to get the word out. There are several ways to do this, including old-school and online methods. Have your real estate agent create brochures highlighting the features of your home listing vital info like property taxes, school district, and acreage.

Your agent should also add the open house to your MLS listing, so it shows up on multiple real estate sites. Don't forget to post the listing on social media a day or two before the open house. Also, put an open house sign in the yard and at the end of your road to help people find your open house more easily. For eye-catching flair, tie some balloons on the signs the day of the open house.

Do you need help organizing the perfect open house? Our experienced real estate professionals can help. Contact us to get started.


Fall Hiking in Lafayette You Won't Want to Miss

Lafayette Hiking

Fall is a wonderful time of the year in Louisiana. With the cooler weather moving in, there are many spectacular opportunities to enjoy the outdoors comfortably. Our real estate agents love to lace up a pair of comfortable walking shoes and venture off into the green spaces of Lafayette for a brisk stroll. We've picked out a few of our favorite fall hiking trails around Lafayette that you'll want to go on!

  1. The Acadian Park Nature Trail — 1205 E. Alexander St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Head over to the Acadian Park Nature Station for a wonderful day outdoors. The Acadian Park Nature Trails consists of nearly six miles of walkable trail within the 150-acre park. Residents and visitors alike enjoy these unspoiled trails because all wheeled traffic is restricted, giving walkers a peaceful stroll. Some of the pathways are dirt, and there is a boardwalk that is wheelchair accessible. For those who want to spend a few moments surrounded by stunning wildlife, Acadian Park Nature Trail should be at the top of your hiking list.

  2. Palmetto Island State Park — 19501 Pleasantville Rd., Abbeville, LA 70510
    The Palmetto Island State Park is a favorite outdoor destination for many Louisiana natives. Next time you're browsing Abbeville homes for sale, consider spending a few days along the Vermilion River. You'll get the full Louisiana outdoors experience as you stay in a vacation cabin among the trees and wildlife. With plenty of space to hike, Palmetto Island State Park offers an up-close view of Louisiana wildlife at its finest.

  3. Beaver Park — 500 Fisher Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508
    Beaver Park is a fantastic outdoor space to enjoy, particularly because it connects you to the Atakapas Ishak Trail. Take advantage of its proximity to the Vermilion River, Spreafico Lake, and Historic Vermilionville Village and see plenty of what this area has to offer. On the opposite end of Beaver Park, just up the road from the Acadian Cultural Center, is the Bayou Vermilion Nature Trail. With two great trails in one location, Beaver Park is the perfect place to get two hikes in one.

  4. Heymann Park — 1500 S. Orange St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    This sprawling park located on the north side of the Vermilion River, Heymann Park is great for families who love to run around and play. The multi-purpose trail running through part of the park is short and sweet, getting you the fresh air you need without venturing too far off of the beaten path. 

Are you interested in walking through many more Lafayette homes for sale? Contact us, and we'll help you on your journey to find your dream home!


Avoid Home Appraisal Issues with these Tips

Avoid Home Appraisal Issues

Through your eyes, your home may be priceless and perfect! However, buyers and appraisers view your home a little differently. Data from the National Association of Realtors indicates 25 percent of delays on real estate closings are due to appraisal issues.

There is no magic formula to predict appraisal results, but these useful tips will help you avoid appraisal problems.

  1. Understand the Difference Between Appraisal and Inspection
    While home sales generally involve both appraisals and inspections, they serve different purposes. An inspection is a detailed report about the physical condition of a house with a particular focus on structural problems, safety issues, and building code violations. While an appraisal takes these factors into account, it's intended to provide an objective opinion on the value of the home.

  2. Study the Market
    What are the going sale prices for similar homes in your area? These comparable properties, or comps, are useful in setting the asking price for your home. Our real estate agents are a valuable source of information on this subject.

  3. Finish the "To-Do" List
    Cosmetic imperfections are not necessarily safety risks, but they create a shabby appearance. Now is the time to secure that loose handrail, repair broken doorknobs, touch up chipped paint and remove clutter. You may want to consider using a professional cleaning service and a stager to optimize the home's look.

  4. Check Curb Appeal
    Appraisers consider the total package, which includes the home's exterior and yard. According to Consumer Reports, curb appeal can bump a home's value three to five percent. Are the lawn and hedges overgrown? Is the mailbox dated and decrepit? Do the gutters need to be cleaned? Even seemingly minor changes such as new door hardware and house numbers can boost curb appeal.

  5. Ask About Buyer's Financing
    Lenders want appraisals to ensure a home is truly worth the amount they're financing. Smaller down payments create greater exposure for lenders, leaving less margin for error in the appraisal. Also, FHA mortgages have more stringent appraisal requirements than conventional mortgages.

  6. Present Your Offers
    If you've received multiple offers on your home, this is evidence of the perceived value that an appraiser will take into consideration.

  7. Know Your Options
    So despite your best efforts, the appraisal comes in significantly lower than you anticipated. The first step is to review the report for accuracy. You then have the option of submitting an appeal. Be prepared to offer reliable, logical, and unemotional reasons why the appraised value should be higher. You may be able to negotiate a solution, whether it's lowering the price, splitting the difference or making agreed-upon upgrades.

We have extensive experience smoothing out any bump in the road to your real estate goals. Contact us to learn more!


New Orleans Spotlight: Bayou Classic

Bayou ClassicFor New Orleans, Thanksgiving weekend means one thing — the Bayou Classic! This annual college football game is a New Orleans tradition dating back to 1974. This is much more than a yearly football game — it is an event celebrating community and culture within Crescent City.

The Bayou Classic originally started in 1974, but the rivalry between Grambling State University and Southern University goes back to the 1930s. As these two schools went head to head each year, their competition was elevated to the field of Tulane Stadium for the first annual Bayou Classic.

Having these two college teams featured on this platform was a significant achievement for the players, whose rivalry was routinely overshadowed by LSU and Tulane. To celebrate this first game, the city organized a week filled with festivities leading up to the game. Today, the Jaguars versus Tigers game is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Our real estate agents invite you to attend the week full of activities leading up to 2019's Bayou Classic!

46th Annual Bayou Classic Schedule of Events

  • Bayou Classic Press Conference — Monday, November 25th, 2019
    Mercedes Bez Superdome 1500 Sugarbowl Dr., New Orleans, LA 70112

    Kick the week off with the Bayou Classic Press Conference live from the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Get the latest updates, news, and predictions for the big game. Turn on your TV at 10 am for coverage or head down to Gate A to see it live!

  • Coaches Luncheon — Friday, November 29th, 2019
    Hyatt Regency New Orleans 601 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113

    If you're lucky enough to receive an invitation, you'll be treated to a delicious lunch at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans with the coaches.

  • Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge — Friday, November 29th, 2019
    Hyatt Regency New Orleans 601 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113

    Business ideas are put to the test at Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge. This fun and educational program invites undergraduate and graduate students from select universities to learn how to solve real-world problems with technology-based products and services. 

  • Greek Show & Battle of the Bands — Friday, November 29th, 2019
    Mercedes Bez Superdome 1500 Sugarbowl Dr., New Orleans, LA 70112

    Come rock out and watch a musical battle of the bands from Grambling State University and Southern University. The schools' fraternities and sororities will join the rivalry as well for the Greek Show.

  • Doc Griggs 2X Around the Dome — Saturday, November 30th, 2019
    Mercedes Bez Superdome 1500 Sugarbowl Dr., New Orleans, LA 70112

    Ride a bike or walk around the Superdome twice in a celebration of health then partake in a variety of other fun activities.

  • Bayou Classic Parade — Saturday, November 30th, 2019 Parade begins at Elysian Fields Ave./N. Peters St. and ends at Loyola Ave./Perdido St.
    Grab a great spot downtown and wave to parade floats, marching bands and other talented performers turning the streets of New Orleans into a party.

  • Fan Festival — Saturday, November 30th, 2019
    Champions Square Lasalle St., New Orleans, LA 70112

    Party like a champion at this free event featuring food and live music.

  • The 46th Annual Bayou Classic — Saturday, November 30th, 2019
    Mercedes Bez Superdome 1500 Sugarbowl Dr., New Orleans, LA 70112

    The biggest game to come to NOLA every year — the Bayou Classic. Choose a side, choose a seat, and get ready for an unforgettable night!

Do you want to be within walking distance to all of the Bayou Classic festivities every year? Contact us and let us show you our great New Orleans homes for sale.


New Orleans Nonprofits to Support This Giving Tuesday

New Orleans Nonprofits

New Orleans may be a large city, but it also shares many similarities with small communities. Residents love giving back to local causes, by volunteering, providing funds, and donating needed items to non-profits. Giving Tuesday is the perfect chance to get involved with local charities by donating money, time, or both. There are so many local causes to choose from, and our real estate agents have the details on New Orleans non-profits that you can support on Giving Tuesday.

  1. Animal Rescue New Orleans – 271 Plauche St., New Orleans, LA 70123
    Animal Rescue New Orleans is a local organization is focused on rescuing abandoned and homeless pets in the city, then finding them a new, happy home. Animal Rescue New Orleans is always in need of financial donations to support the cause, and you can also volunteer your time at the shelter.

  2. Green Light New Orleans – 8203 Jeannette St., New Orleans, LA 70118
    Dedicated to green living and helping households become more energy-efficient, Green Light New Orleans is a great place to give back to the community. Green Light creates a healthier New Orleans by providing homeowners with efficient solutions for lighting, irrigation, gardening, and home energy use. You can donate your time, provide needed items to help with energy efficiency, or donate funds.

  3. Community Visions Unlimited – P.O. Box 24821, New Orleans, LA 70184
    Do you believe in the power that art has to help rebuild communities? Then consider contributing to Community Visions Unlimited on Giving Tuesday this year. Community Visions Unlimited partners with local communities to revitalize neighborhoods with unique public art. Your donation helps carry on the rich tradition of public art in New Orleans.

  4. Rebuilding Together – 923 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130
    With a focus on revitalizing communities by improving the quality of life for low-income homeowners, Rebuilding Together does excellent work throughout New Orleans. Rebuilding Together is all about helping homeowners with tough maintenance tasks, from scraping and applying paint to drywall work, cleaning, tiling, landscaping, and even installing appliances. This organization is always seeking financial donations and volunteers for projects around the city.

  5. Healthy Gulf – P.O. Box 2245, New Orleans, LA 70176
    Love spending time on the waterfront, or exploring local wetlands? Healthy Gulf is dedicated to keeping those spaces healthy and beautiful for future generations to enjoy. This organization works on a wide range of tasks, including defending wetlands, protecting local water sources, conserving marine life, resisting dirty energy sources, and sustaining coastal communities.

  6. High Voltage Youth Camp – P.O. Box 4224, New Orleans, LA 70178
    High Voltage Youth Camp
    is a local non-profit serving the New Orleans area for more than 25 years by providing educational and recreational programs for kids in need. These camps offer a safe, empowering environment where kids can learn, play, and connect with their community. Even a small donation makes a big difference.

Giving back to the community is a priority for so many residents, which is one more reason why New Orleans is such a fantastic place to call home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout New Orleans.


Tips for Improving the Interior of Your Home

Improving Your Home's Interior

Whether you're looking to sell your home, update existing features, or browsing New Orleans homes for sale, you can be your own interior designer. It may be as simple as adding or removing a piece of furniture or artwork, or as complex as transforming the entire color scheme of your home. The following tips are sure to improve your home's appearance aesthetically and, more importantly, your comfort level.

Determine Your Style

Decluttering is a great place to start when improving the interior of your home, but you may not have a lot of extra storage space to do so. Consider investing in some wall-hanging cabinets to add storage shelves and your possessions out of eyesight, while still keeping them close by for convenience purposes.

Decorative mirrors can give added depth perception to a room while making it feel like more of an open space. Painting one or more rooms will make your home more pleasing to the eye, or perhaps wood paneling may accommodate your flooring.

A few other ideas to consider are:

  • Lay down area rugs to make the room feel more inviting to guests
  • Paint bookcases or other furniture to match the color scheme of the room
  • Add plants and pictures to enhance the vibrant qualities of the room

Making Significant Changes to Your Home's Interior

Significantly alter the landscape of your home by removing a wall to open up more space. You could do this to make use of an unused room or combine your kitchen and dining room into one generously-sized space without having a barrier.

You might also consider eliminating kitchen cabinet space by installing open shelving that hangs from your ceiling. You could store pots and other cooking utensils this way, and it will give the room a more rustic look.

Remodeling to add a study or a game room will give your home a more sophisticated look and will be more welcoming to your family and their guests. Other ideas for you to consider may include:

  • Installing track lighting for better ambiance
  • Repairing or replacing molding throughout the home
  • Updating bathroom appliances and fixtures
  • Replacing existing furniture with colorful accent furniture

These options may be more time-consuming and costly, but they still won't drain your bank account to achieve the results you're seeking.

Your home is where you should feel most comfortable. Improving upon it with your personal touch will only add to that comfort level. If you're house hunting and looking for something you can customize, our real estate agents can you assist you every step of the way. Contact us, and we will work with you to get you into the perfect home for you and your family.


Shop Small Saturday: Where to Shop in Baton Rouge

Shop Local Baton Rouge

Living in Baton Rouge means you're never far from some excellent shopping. Local small businesses are a big part of what makes the city such a popular place to call home. With Shop Small Saturday around the corner, this is the perfect time to get out and explore all the Baton Rouge small businesses in the area. We've got the details on some great Baton Rouge businesses to visit on Shop Small Saturday!

  1. Bella Bella – 3064 Perkins Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Baton Rouge homes for sale
    allow you to visit so many unique local businesses, like the Bella Bella women's clothing shop. Bella Bella stocks all of the latest styles, allowing you to keep up with the latest trends and find the perfect gift for anyone on your list who loves fashion. There's a huge selection of shoes, along with excellent looks for both formal occasions and everyday wear.

  2. The Market at Circa 1857 – 1857 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    Searching for one-of-a-kind art and amazing antiques? Visit The Market at Circa 1857 to shop for home décor and so much more. Part art gallery, part antique shop, this unique local destination is a fantastic place to grab items for your own home or someone else.

  3. Little Cajun Village – 6490 Hwy 22, Sorrento, LA 70778
    Interested in exploring history and culture as you shop for unique items? The Little Cajun Village will take you back to another era, with great shopping and plenty of fun surprises. This little village features restored Acadian homes, each with a shop inside. You can pick up crafts, spices, artwork, hand-made decorations, and so much more. There's also a delicious little dining spot located on-site.

  4. Mid City Craft Wine and Brew – 711 Jefferson Hwy, Suite 1C, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    Whether you're stocking up for holiday parties or shopping for the perfect gift, Mid City Craft Wine and Brew has precisely what you need. This local bottle shop stocks a massive selection of craft beer, both local and national, as well as craft wine. Stop by for a weekly tasting, and experience what Mid City has to offer. If you're looking for flavors you won't find anywhere else, this is the place to be.

  5. Red Stick Spice Co. – 660 Jefferson Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    Preparing to cook your own holiday meals, or looking for the perfect gift for the amateur chef on your list? Red Stick Spice Co. has you covered. This shop stocks nearly every spice under the sun, along with a selection of teas from around the world.

  6. Cottonwood Books – 3054 Perkins Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    If you love books both new and old, then Cottonwood Books is more than worth a visit on Small Business Saturday. Cottonwood Books may be a small business, but it has an unmatched selection of books from across eras. There are more than 40,000 books in stock, including many rare finds. The team is also happy to help you order any books.

Shop Small Saturday is a great chance to visit the many local small businesses that make Baton Rouge such a unique place to call home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Baton Rouge, LA area.


5 Things to be Thankful for in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge Area

We count our blessings every day, and one of them is to get to call Baton Rouge home! From its vibrant culture and rich history to fun-filled summers and blissfully warm winters, Baton Rouge a fantastic place. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now seems like a good time to consider some of the things we're most thankful for here in Baton Rouge. 

  1. Amazing Food
    Baton Rouge is barely an hour from New Orleans, and we share many of our neighbor's culinary traditions. The city has fully embraced Southern and Cajun influences, and you'll be able to savor amazing gumbo, Jambalaya, boiled crawfish, and other Louisiana Staples. But Baton Rouge isn't just about Soul Food. As the state capital and a major seaport, it's a melting pot of cultures and flavors from around the world. We're also home to a growing craft brewing and distilling scene and have fantastic farmer's markets where you'll find produce and local foods. 

  2. Affordability
    For a city its size, Baton Rouge is highly affordable. And if you're looking for a New Orleans vibe without the New Orleans price tag, you've come to the right place. The cost of buying a home in Baton Rouge is also well below the national average. On top of that, Louisiana's low state and local income taxes make it one of the most tax-friendly states in the country. Plus, residents don't have to pay property tax on the first $75,000 of their primary residence. 

  3. World-Class Music
    Some cities think they have the market cornered on music history—we're looking at you, Nashville—but our town has a musical heritage spanning genres. Blues, country, zydeco, and jazz are all parts of Baton Rouge's musical pedigree, and those traditions are alive and well today. Every year, thousands of music fans flock to the city to attend the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, one of the oldest blues festivals in the country. On any given night, you can head to local juke joints and music clubs to hear everything from swinging jazz and swampy blues riffs to blistering indie rock. 

  4. Family Fun
    Baton Rouge gets a lot of attention for its vibrant nightlife and party atmosphere, but it's a family town too, with entertainment for all ages. We have dozens of great parks and museums for family fun, like the recently-opened Knock Knock Children's Museum next to the wide-open green spaces of City-Brooks Community Park. You could also spend a day reconnecting with your wild side at BREC's Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center or steep yourself in the culture at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. 

  5. Endless of Options
    If you're looking at Baton Rouge homes for sale, you've probably already noticed that there are many options. Baton Rouge is a city that embraces its rich past while keeping an eye toward the future. You can find incredible historic homes with beautifully preserved architecture and centuries' worth of lived-in charm. On the other hand, you can find newly constructed 21st-century houses with all the modern amenities. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Baton Rouge. We've helped countless families find their dream homes in the Baton Rouge area, and we're committed to helping you find yours. 


What to Look for in a Starter Home

Starter Home in Baton RougeFirst-time home-buying can be stressful and confusing if you aren't prepared ahead of time. However, just because you're looking for a starter home doesn't mean you should sacrifice all of what you hope to gain in return. Baton Rouge homes for sale offer a wide variety of possible options to get you into your first home without needing to compromise your expectations. When you're ready to get the ball rolling, there are a few things you should look for in a starter home.

Starter Home Limitations

You may have a vision of what your first home will look like, but that vision may not align with financial and other considerations. You don't necessarily have to lower your expectations and settle for something less., but you should be aware of what your confined limits are in terms of lot size, mortgage payments, and what you are financially and physically able to keep up with. Buying a home is a huge commitment. While you may not be able to get everything you want right away, you can always upgrade or remodel. That's the beauty of owning your own home – it's yours to do with as you please! Knowing your limits also includes:

  • Being flexible to negotiate with what you're looking for
  • Ensuring all your financial obligations are in order
  • Not getting carried away with adding things you don't necessarily need

The home-buying process has to make sense for your specific needs and wants, but you don't need to compromise what you are willing to accept. You must be realistic in terms of what is best for you in the short and long term.

Benefits of Starter Homes

Starter homes are widely available and, in most cases, they cost less due to the size and limitations of the home itself. This is not to say you can't find something to your liking, but these homes are for people looking to establish themselves as homeowners. Along with affordability and other financial obligations, some things to consider include:

  • The convenience of location and commuting to work/school
  • Selecting a property that's easy to maintain
  • Consideration of future plans, such as growing your family
  • Possible exit strategy if you need to relocate in the future

When considering an exit strategy, you may not necessarily need to resell your home, but instead, you could rent it out and keep it as an investment property.

Buying a starter home is a great way to get you and your family into a place you can call your own. Our REALTORS® can help you find the perfect location for you while keeping you within the limitations of what you're looking for and able to afford. When you're ready to take that first step, contact us and we'll get you started on the right path to finding your new starter home.


10 Tips for Saving up for a Down Payment

Saving for a Down Payment

Saving up for a down payment can seem like a daunting challenge at first. However, with a little planning and some adjustments in your spending patterns, you can save up for a down payment using these tips from our REALTORS®.

  1. Set a Savings Goal & Benchmarks to Reach
    You will want to save between 5-20% for your down payment. Creating a goal gives you a target for your savings. Plus, having benchmarks along the way will help you track your progress and motivate you to continue saving.
  2. Set up a Separate Account
    Setting up a separate account for your down payment savings makes it easier to shield those funds from everyday expenses. Another suggestion is to have money automatically deposited into this account each month.
  3. Trim Your Spending
    It is vital to cut unnecessary spending from your budget. Cutting down on that daily coffee shop trip, cutting the cord on your cable, turning the thermostat down, etc. generates substantial savings. Saving a few hundred dollars a month on discretionary spending may not seem like much, but it can add up to thousands of dollars per year.
  4. Investigate Home Buying Programs
    There are numerous programs available for first-time homebuyers. These programs vary by state and county. Many offer housing discounts, low-interest loans, and grants that you can use to save a bundle.
  5. Take on Side Gigs
    Doing a little extra work on the side can boost your savings. Freelancing, taking a second job, or renting a room out can increase your income from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars more per month.
  6. Research the Market
    While you are saving, you will want to watch the market closely. You will want to keep a close eye on real estate values in the area. This will help you narrow your search to properties that fit within your budget.
  7. Pay off Credit Cards
    Credit cards can have extremely high interest rates that can sap your ability to save money. Pay off credit cards with the highest interest rates first, and then chip away at the rest until the balances you carry are as low as possible. This will also help boost your credit score and lower your debt-to-income ratio, which will help you qualify for a better loan package.
  8. Ask for Cash
    Instead of coffee makers and clothing, ask family members to give cash gifts for birthdays, Christmas, weddings, etc. Deposit these gifts directly into your down payment savings account. If applicable, you can also ask for an advance on any inheritance, distributions from life insurance policies, etc.
  9. Shop Strategically for Food
    Food is one of the most significant expenses each month, and you can cut your spending by shopping strategically. Cutting coupons, buying in bulk, and buying food when it's on sale can add up.
  10. Reward Yourself
    It is easy to start saving; it is much harder to keep saving. Reward yourself when you achieve savings benchmarks. For every milestone reached, set a small reward to help keep you motivated towards your goal.

Contact us to learn more about real estate trends and saving up for Baton Rouge homes for sale


Pumpkin Spice Season: Lafayette Coffee Shops to Try

Lafayette Coffee Shops

With the fall weather comes delicious fall flavors! Lafayette has many local coffee shops for getting not only your caffeine fix but your fix of flavors you can only get in the fall. The following are some coffee shops our REALTORS® are sure you will want to check out. 

  1. Zuhause Bakery & Coffee - 6774 Johnston St, Lafayette, LA 70503
    It may be a long way to Munich, but you won't have to travel far to enjoy your favorite German pastries. At Zuhause Bakery & Coffee, they are busy brewing some of the finest artisan coffees and strudels, twists, and Danish's this side of the old country. This makes Zuhause a fabulous place to sit back, relax, and read the paper as you search through Lafayette homes for sale.

  2. Classic Cup - 2627 Veterans Memorial Dr, Abbeville, LA 70510
    You can always find your old favorites at Classic Cup Abbeville. You will also find plenty of new treats to enjoy as you head into work or stop off for a Sunday chat with friends. One trip here and you will understand why everyone is so eager to buy Abbeville homes for sale and move into the community.

  3. Java Square Cafe - 103 W Landry St, Opelousas, LA 70570
    Java Square Cafe is where the cool cats like to hang out. They are happy to serve you an Americano when you want to keep it simple. They can also pour you a hot and spicy Chai Latte when you want to mix things up. A favorite in all seasons, you will love their milkshakes and gelato in the summer, and their hot chocolates and drip coffee in the winter. A few trips here and we guarantee you will want to take a look at Opelousas homes for sale so you can enjoy their coffee every day of the week.

  4. Black Cafe - 518 S Pierce St #100, Lafayette, LA 70501
    Black Cafe is located in the heart of Lafayette, which makes it a perfect place to stop in on your way to work. They brew each cup to perfection and feature a wide selection of breakfast items, including the ever-popular beignets. From the Cafe Au Lait to the Espresso, it is easy to find a morning pick-me-up that will perk up your ears and keep you going strong until closing time. 

  5. Johnston Street Java - 3123 Johnston St, Lafayette, LA 70503
    Johnston Street Java is the place to go when you want a pure cup of coffee with a side of all-American service. Their flavor selection is one of the largest in the south, and you will want to drop in week after week just so you can try them all. You will also love their simple yet delicious breakfast sandwiches, muffins, and cookies they cook up fresh every day of the week.

We invite you to contact us to learn more about the fantastic coffee shops and amenities these communities have to offer. It is our pleasure to answer your questions and help you find the perfect property for your future. 


Rent No More: Signs It's Time to Buy a Home

Rent no More

There comes a time in most people's lives when they consider trading a lease for a mortgage. As the deadline for signing your next rental contract approaches, you may be wondering if now is the right time to buy a home.

Our REALTORS® know this is not a decision you can make overnight. However, most people who choose to invest in a home often have spotted the signs it's the right time. If any of the following signs have popped up in, it may be your golden opportunity for homeownership.

  1. You believe you're wasting money renting…
    Are you paying a high sum each month approximately similar to mortgage payments in your area? Does your rent pay for amenities you don't need or use? If you keep signing monthly checks yet feel like you're not getting your money's worth, it may be time to invest in the space with features you desire.
  2. …Especially if your rent keeps increasing.
    No matter where you live, monthly rental prices will likely continue to climb. Some will only rise a few dollars each cycle while others jump astronomically with your renewal contract. If you're not getting the most out of your complex and your increasing rent is costing you hundreds, purchasing a home becomes a more financially sound option.
  3. You move every few years to find cheaper or larger apartments.
    Of course, you can always try to find a complex with specials or incentives to reduce your payments, but that involves moving. Even if you're moving solely to increase your space, too many moves can wear on your family and finances.
  4. Your family is growing.
    If your family is growing, you'll need space to accommodate these new needs.
  5. Your financial situation is secure…
    Purchasing a home takes significant financial planning. However, if you've increased your credit score, paid down your debts and saved up for a down payment and closing costs, you may be in the best financial position to make an offer.
  6. …As well as your career.
    If you've been at your office for years and plan on staying, you've undeniably developed roots in your career. Now it's time to consider planting those same roots in a house.
  7. You are at a transitional period in your life…
    There are milestones in life that open up ideal opportunities to make a significant life decision like buying a home - like graduating or getting married. Either way, it might be time to take a step toward homeownership.
  8. …And so are your kids.
    Moving can be tough on children, but it can be made easier by moving them as their school years come to a close. By moving before the start of elementary, middle, or high school, you allow your kids to adjust to new surroundings and make new friends.
  9. The market is in your favor.
    The real estate market is in favor of the buyer, presenting opportunities to match your dream home to your budget. If the market looks promising, now may be the time to score a deal.
  10. It feels like the right time to settle down.
    Sometimes, it feels like the right time in your life to settle down and have a home to call your own. 

If now is the right time for you to stop renting and start owning, contact us. We'll show you Lafayette homes for sale that cater perfectly to your unique needs!


8 Tools Every First-time Buyer Needs

Tools for New Home BuyersYour offer on a house just got accepted! Before you know it, you will be moving in! As a first-time homebuyer, you are probably anxious to start making changes and decorating your new home! Customizing your home is great, but it is easy to let your excitement and eagerness get the best of you and could leave you potentially underprepared. That's why our REALTORS® are here to help!

Let's talk about tools. Specifically, which tools you're going to need after purchasing your first home. All of the "to-do's" on your list, whether they involve maintenance, repairs, installations, or decorating, can only be completed with the help of certain essential resources. Here are eight tools we believe every first-time homebuyer needs:

  1. Hammer
    A hammer is more than meets the eye. There are different sized hammers like the small ball-peen hammer and different style hammers such as sledgehammers and brush hammers. We recommend a claw hammer, which is the typical standard hammer. Find one made from a reliable manufacturer with high durability and shock absorption.
  2. Screwdriver Set
    Next, you need to think about getting a screwdriver. You'll need both flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers in varying sizes. Some manufacturers make screwdrivers with interchangeable heads so you can get a bang for your buck.
  3. Level
    If you don't use a level while you're hanging your décor, don't be surprised if you're tilting your head to see your wall art. A level will give you the perfect line every time so you'll never have to eyeball and keep pivoting picture frames.
  4. Stud Finder
    Always try to hang items securely in the beams behind your wall. Most pieces of drywall aren't strong enough to hold heavy items, which means your frames may come crashing down if they're not in a beam. A stud finder will easily show you where these beams are so you can hang with confidence.
  5. Tape Measure
    The space in an empty home can be deceiving, making it difficult to determine whether or not a particular piece of furniture will fit in a room without trying to move it in first. This is why a tape measure is an essential tool to have. Not only can you measure furniture before you move it all around the house, but you can also take it with you to measure items before you buy them.
  6. Cordless Drill
    A screwdriver set is resourceful, but some jobs require a cordless drill. Buy a cordless drill set with a handful of different sized drill bits and a second rechargeable battery so you'll never have to cut your project short.
  7. Pliers
    A set of pliers are a convenient resource to have for a variety of uses. They can cut and skin wires, tighten or loosen nuts and bolts, and pick up objects in places where it's not safe or practical.
  8. Extra Screws, Nails & Anchors
    You've got a whole set of tools that can complete a series of projects around your home — but your hammer, screwdriver, and drill won't get anything done without screws, nails, and anchors. When you head to the hardware store to pick up your tools, grab a few packs of wood screws, drywall anchors and nails.

Ready to pick out a fixer-upper and transform a Lafayette house into your dream home? Contact us today!


10 Reasons to Move to Lafayette

Reasons to Move to Lafayette

Why are Lafayette homes for sale so desirable? In 2014, the Wall Street Journal's "MarketWatch" named Lafayette the happiest city in America. Here are 10 main reasons why living in Lafayette puts a smile on everyone's face.

  1. "The Hub City" 
    Lafayette is the fourth-largest city in Louisiana. Its eclectic local culture has earned Lafayette the nickname of "The Hub City" as the center of Cajun French culture as well as the regional technology industry.

  2. Water Wonderland
    As Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Water is the driving force in nature." With its seemingly infinite number of lakes, ponds, swamps, and bayous, Lafayette offers endless opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, and wildlife-spotting.

  3. The Sound of Music
    It's hard to travel anywhere around Lafayette without hearing the catchy sounds of Cajun and zydeco, the driving pulse of rock or the lilting strains of country. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival may get the publicity, but many in the know prefer Lafayette's four-day Festival International de Louisiane.

  4. Foodie Paradise
    New Orleans has a reputation as one of the country's culinary meccas, but did you know Lafayette has more restaurants per capita? Not surprisingly, seafood and Cajun/Creole are staples of several menus, while Asian fusion has been making its mark on the Lafayette dining scene.

  5. Knowledge Is Power
    Education is a top priority with residents of Lafayette, home of the prestigious University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Nearly 88 percent have at least a high school diploma, while one-third have a bachelor's degree or higher. The public school system is ranked among the highest in the state.

  6. Affordable Housing
    The Value Index, or Housing Affordability Index, is one of the criteria used by U.S. News & World Report in their Best Places to Live rankings. On a scale of 1 to 10, Lafayette ranks an impressive 8.1 in terms of how comfortably residents can live within their means. The overall cost of living is also lower than the national average.

  7. Rich in History
    Vermilionville, a history museum and folklife park sharing Lafayette's original name, and Acadian Village, a private cultural park featuring restored Cajun homes and a replica blacksmith shop, are just two of the incredible attractions keeping Lafayette's heritage alive.

  8. Easy Accessibility
    While Lafayette is a vibrant city full of cultural and entertainment options, everything is situated on one of three main highways. So there's no frustrating time to spend on interstates. Also, average commute time is 21 minutes as opposed to the national average of 26 minutes, which gives you back nearly five hours each week.

  9. The Sun Always Shines
    Who needs down jackets, wool hats, and boots? The average annual low temperature in Lafayette is a moderate 59.6°F, well above the temperature required for snowfall. Lafayette also registers nearly two weeks more sunny days per year than the national average.

  10. Family-Friendly
    If you have a family, you're in good company in Lafayette where families make up two-thirds of total households.

Our REALTORS® think Lafayette is the perfect place for anyone to make their home. Contact us for friendly and experienced help finding the place of your dreams.


The Psychology Behind Selling Your Home

Psychology of Selling a Home

If you want to find the best value for your home, then you need to understand how buyers think.

The psychological side of selling your home plays an important role in attracting a buyer. Understanding that part of the process can help you find the right buyer quickly. Our REALTORS® understand the psychology of selling your home, and we've put together a guide to help you navigate the process with confidence.

  • Hit the Sweet Spot on Home Pricing
    Let's say a shopper is looking for New Orleans homes for sale in the neighborhood where you're selling your home. Your real estate agent can give you an idea of what comparable homes in the neighborhood have sold for. Unless your home is exceptional, you don't want to have the highest price on the block. If other sellers nearby are asking for the moon, then your home will look all the more attractive to buyers if you pick a middle ground for pricing.

  • Buyers Form Opinions on Homes in a Matter of Seconds
    While it's different for every person, most buyers form a strong opinion of a home very quickly once they visit. Some buyers know in seconds whether they're truly interested in a home. As a seller, this means you need to make your first impression count. Curb appeal, in addition to a clean, inviting, attractively staged home, are huge keys to making sure the buyer's first impression is positive. 

  • Buyers Want to Picture Their Life in the Home
    While staging the home and embracing curb appeal are great for attracting buyers, there's more you can do to make them feel like your home is the right choice. Depersonalizing is a great way to allow buyers to envision themselves in your home. The more the buyer dreams about their life in the home, the better chance you have a closing the deal.

  • Be Careful with Scents When Selling Your Home
    You certainly want your home to smell pleasant when buyers come to visit, but overwhelming scents can be a big psychological turn-off. If a buyer thinks you're hiding something unpleasant, they may become less interested in the home.

  • Small Maintenance Issues Matter
    Some buyers will look for a reason to fall in love with a home. While others will scour for any tiny issue indicating the home isn't worth their investment. Be sure to fix minor maintenance issues, in addition to tackling the big stuff.

Are you ready to work with a real estate agent who understands what buyers want, and how to take advantage of the psychology of selling your home? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA, area.


7 Tips for Selling a Vacant Home

Selling a Vacant Home

You've moved out and moved on, now you just need to sell your old place. Selling a vacant home doesn't have to be a challenge. With some planning and preparation, the following tips from our REALTORS® can make it a straightforward procedure. 

1. Set Your Thermostat to Between 60-70 Degrees.

While you don't have to worry too much about pipes freezing in New Orleans, you do have to worry about the damage excessive heat can cause. Moreover, if the home is too hot, prospective buyers won't want to spend too much time looking around.

2. Keep the Utilities on.

Keep paying the electric, water, and gas bill. This will help protect the home from damage and will make it easier for prospective buyers in New Orleans to test fixtures, faucets, and appliances when they inspect the home. Of course, you can unplug appliances and only keep critical systems, including the air conditioner, furnace, and lights connected.

3. Weatherize the Home.

Make sure to fix any air leaks in the insulation, around doors/windows, around siding, etc. You should use the appropriate weather stripping, caulk, etc. to conduct any required repairs. Performing this chore will save you a little money on your utility bills, deter pest intrusions, and make the home more appealing to prospective buyers.

4. Secure the Home.

A vacant home is a beacon to squatters and thieves eager to steal everything from the light fixtures to the copper pipes in the bathrooms. To keep intruders away, make sure you properly secure all doors, windows, and entry points. If your home has a home security system, you will want to keep this connection until the property is sold and the keys have changed hands. Finally, notify your neighbors that the home will be vacant. Astute neighbors can let you know if they see something amiss. 

5. Schedule a Virtual Staging. 

A vacant home is a blank slate. While this can be advantageous, the reality is not everyone can imagine the way a room will appear when it is filled with furnishings. Virtual staging makes it possible to create a digital reference without the need to rent furniture or leave your furniture behind when you move out. Conversely, you can choose to stage the home and take professional photographs before moving out.

6. Clean the Home and Maintain the Landscape.

Thoroughly clean the home and repair any minor damage you come across. Carpets, tiles, wood floors, etc. should look as close to new as possible. Similarly, make sure the trees, grass, flowerbeds, etc. are properly trimmed and maintained until the house is sold. This will help deter pests and ensure the home looks its best during showings. If you live nearby, you can take care of the cleaning and landscaping. If you are moving out of the area, consider investing in professional services to take care of these chores once per month. 

Contact us to discuss the methods we use to market vacant homes. It is our pleasure to tell you the strategies we recommend when adding your property to the list of New Orleans homes for sale. 


How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Energy Efficient Home

Our REALTORS® know there are many ways to increase the value of a home. One of the most valuable ways for New Orleans residences to increase the value of their home is by improving energy efficiency.

Energy-efficient home improvements benefit you, the environment, and future homeowners. "Green" renovations can also help you financially with lower bills and in some cases, get you a tax rebate.

However, you don't have to buy an entire set of solar panels to move forward on your energy goals. Some of the most effective changes you can make are small, costing a few hundred dollars. 

Let's take a look at some of the best ways to increase your energy efficiency:

  1. Replace or Update Your Thermostat
    The thermostat serves as the brains of your air conditioning and heating system. As it begins to age, it no longer registers the temperature accurately, leading to poor performance – for example, running too long or cycling on and off. A programmable thermostat is a modern alternative.
  2. Seal or Upgrade the Windows
    Windows gradually become warped over time and lose their seal. If you've never replaced the windows before, then it's probably time. Glazing your existing windows can be inexpensive. To maximum energy savings, consider special insulating glass.
  3. Improve Attic Insulation
    Over time, the insulation in an attic deteriorates. This affects the natural flow of heat throughout the home, making it hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. Hire a trusted roofer to replace the insulation and check on the health of your roof.
  4. Replace Your Existing Roof
    If you have a larger budget, you might want to consider replacing your roof. Traditional shingle roofs can be made with energy-saving composite shingles. You can also consider residential metal roofing, which can keep your home cool by reflecting up to 80% of solar radiation.
  5. Invest in Air Conditioner Maintenance
    New Orleans is hot, hot, hot ... in more ways than one! The air conditioner is the biggest user of electricity in many homes. Instead of buying a new unit, have a certified technician make your existing AC more efficient by replacing worn-out components.
  6. Update Your Hot Water Heater
    A hot water heater is another common culprit when it comes to electricity use. Energy-efficient water heaters do not usually run constantly, but they are still able to provide hot water on demand.
  7. Update or Move Your Refrigerator
    The refrigerator can be a huge energy hog. If you haven't checked out the latest fridges in more than five years, there's probably an efficient model available. If you are not in the market to buy a new refrigerator, move your current refrigerator to a cooler spot in the room to lower energy consumption.

Instead of renovating your kitchen or bathroom, make a lasting impression on buyers and update your home with energy-efficient improvements that will help buyers and the environment.

Our team at Latter & Blum can help you come up with even more smart ways to create value in your home. Contact us to find out more!


Distinctly New Orleans - 10 Traditions Only NOLA Locals Understand

Distinctly New Orleans

Even if you've never visited the city before, you've likely heard a thing or two about why New Orleans is such an amazing place to call home. Thanks to its strong sense of community and storied history, New Orleans has developed a ton of traditions and characteristics. Our REALTORS® love helping you get to know New Orleans, and we've put together 10 traditions only NOLA locals understand.

  1. Life Here Moves at Its Own Pace
    Calling New Orleans home means taking time to stop and smell the roses, and locals wouldn't have it any other way. The pace of life here may be a bit different from what you're used to, but locals know New Orleans moves at its own speed.

  2. You Don't Always Need a Car to Explore the City
    NOLA is a city of neighborhoods, with few steep inclines and plenty of room to maneuver on a bicycle. You don't need a car to see the city, and traveling by bike is often the perfect way to explore your neighborhood.

  3. Festival Season Never Ends
    Did you miss the last big festival in New Orleans? Don't worry! Festival season never ends in the city, and there's always another big event coming up.

  4. Some of the Best Performances Happen on the Street
    New Orleans is home to legendary bars and performance venues, but they're not the only place you'll see live performances. Street performers are all around in New Orleans, and you never know what you'll see.

  5. A Sno-ball Is the Perfect Treat on a Summer Day
    Looking for the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day? Head to a local stand to try a New Orleans sno-ball, a sweet, icy treat to keep you cool when the weather turns toasty.

  6. Every Home and Building Tells a Story
    When you're shopping for New Orleans homes for sale, you're sure to have plenty of interesting options to choose from in the city. New Orleans is filled with unique, historic homes loaded with character and inspired architecture.

  7. You Can Spend a Lifetime Exploring the Local Dining Scene
    New Orleans has always been a cultural melting pot, and that diverse cultural mix has created one of the world's best culinary scenes. There's no end to the local Creole, Cajun, and soul food spots you can explore.

  8. Everyone's a Saints Fan During Football Season
    You don't have to love football to live here, but you may find yourself cheering for the Saints on fall Sundays all the same. The city loves its NFL team, and every Sunday is a party.

  9. A Compass Isn't Very Useful in New Orleans
    New Orleans is a large city, with curved, winding streets and a layout that doesn't lend itself to giving typical directions. You'll rely less on the cardinal directions, and more on local landmarks to navigate.

  10. Parades Aren't Just for Mardi Gras
    Mardi Gras is, of course, a fantastic time to live in New Orleans, but you don't have to wait for Mardi Gras season to enjoy a parade. From Second Line parades to weddings, there's always a fun, festive parade happening.

While there are many different local traditions to enjoy in New Orleans, there's one thing everyone agrees on – this is a great place to call home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA, area.


11 Victorian Home Remodeling Tips You'll Want To Try

Victorian Home Remodeling

There's nothing quite like the beauty of a Victorian-style home! Many people fall in love with these homes for their one-of-a-kind details and charm. 

Do you have your eye on a stunning Victorian-style house among the Baton Rouge homes for sale? Here are some helpful remodeling and decorating tips to update a Victorian home incorporating your taste while maintaining its original beauty and charm. 

  1. Don't Rush It
    No matter how excited you are about getting started, hold off on major renovations until you've lived in the home for at least a year. Take some time to see how you feel about the design elements after being around them day-to-day.

  2. Revisit the Past
    Do some research into your home's background as well as general style conventions around Baton Rouge during the time the house was built. Having historical context helps you make more informed decisions.

  3. "First, Do No Harm" 
    Moldings, trim, brackets, staircase banisters, and other elements of Victorian homes reflect an incredible level of craftsmanship deserving respect. Consider repairing rather than replacing these details whenever possible. Each altered feature takes the home further away from what spoke to you in the first place. Should you end up removing any pieces, store them carefully.

  4. Understand What's Permanent and What Isn't
    Alterations such as paint, fabrics, stains, carpeting, and window treatments are cosmetic and easy to remove or modify. Think twice before tearing out a staircase or making other structural changes that are impossible to restore.

  5. Prioritize the Practical Side
    You may be chomping at the bit to update the kitchen or add some luxury to the master bedroom, but aesthetic changes can wait. The first order of business is repairing current problem areas and preventing future damage.

  6. Lighten Up
    Victorian homes often include wood and dark colors creating an interior ambiance bordering on oppressive. Adding a coat of paint in white or another light neutral shade opens everything up without eliminating molding and other attractive details.

  7. Wide Open Spaces
    Avoid a claustrophobic feel by widening doorways and other narrow passages. Sometimes doorways can even be created where they previously didn't exist. This step also extends sightlines, making the home appear larger.

  8. Repurpose Rooms
    The original owners of Victorian homes had different lifestyles from those of today, which means room usage wasn't the same. For example, a Victorian home may have a small, cramped bathroom and a spacious, formal dining room. Instead of tearing rooms apart to suit your purposes, think about how to repurpose them.

  9. To Add or Not to Add?
    As your family grows or you undergo other life changes, you may come to a point where your lovely Victorian home isn't large enough. If you do build an addition, make the design compatible with the home's architecture. Be sure not to disturb the integrity of the original house in case a future owner wants to remove the addition.

  10. Choose the Right Help
    Review portfolios and references of architects, contractors, interior designers, or other professionals you might hire. Check to see if they have experience working with Victorians and other historic home styles.

  11. Plan for Contingencies
    Working on older homes carries a greater possibility of running into unexpected snags. Build a cushion into the schedule and budget to absorb any delays and cost overruns.

Whether you dream of a classic Victorian or more modern home, our REALTORS® can help you! Contact us to get started!


Factoring in Commute Time for Your New Home

Commute Time in Baton Rouge

When browsing homes in Baton Rouge, it's easy to focus your attention on the aesthetic of the home, the amenities of the neighborhood, and other important features. However, there's one important factor some hopeful buyers don't consider soon enough — the commute time to work.

Our REALTORS® believe your commute time should be one of the most important factors you weigh in your home buying decision. Your commute time to work will impact your life almost every day, which is why it should always be factored into the home-buying process.

Consider Your Current Commute Time

Think about your current commute time to work. How many miles do you travel roundtrip? Does the commute time fluctuate if you're traveling at different times of the day? Are you a parent who needs to drop a child off at school or an employee who needs to make frequent stops before arriving at the office? Consider all of these factors:

  • Your stress level and ways of commuting impact your health.
  • Your time spent commuting on average.
  • The cost of commuting, including vehicle wear and tear.
  • How flexible your employer is in regards to your arrival and departure time each day.

Time Investment
Your time is an important factor to consider. Even if your drive doesn't stress you out, does it cut into the time you need after-hours to live your life fully? If being stuck in daily rush hour traffic forces you to miss out on important moments in your life, you should reconsider a long commute. Remember, you aren't getting paid extra for a longer commute, and you won't be able to regain that time spent.

Financial Investment
You should consider the monetary investment your commute requires. This includes gas, tolls, transportation passes, car maintenance, and other costs that will only subtract from your gross take-home pay. If you find that you're spending thousands of dollars each year commuting, you're effectively lowering your salary.

Career Flexibility
Depending on your role or employer, commuting long distances may put you in a pickle. If you need to be at work on the dot, a long commute with heavy traffic could cause you to be late. Similarly, if you're an employee that's on-call or may have to travel around town at a moment's notice, living far from this area could be a huge inconvenience.

Your Health
Before you consider all other factors, remember your health is always your number one priority. Some studies have shown that extended commuting times can contribute to several physical and psychological health issues, which increases if you have a career with high levels of stress. If you believe a shorter commute would positively impact your health, you should look for homes for sale closer to your office.

A long commute is not always an inconvenience or a stressful occurrence. Many people choose to live in the suburbs and commute into a city regardless of time commitment. If you believe that your health, career, family, or finances will be negatively impacted by an extensive commute to work, we suggest looking closer to your office.

Find Baton Rouge homes for sale with a convenient commute to work. Contact us to get started!


Maintenance Tips for Your Waterfront Home

Waterfront home tips

A home on the lake is the perfect place to spend quiet evenings with family and fun weekends with friends. Some of the finest Baton Rouge homes are no more than a stone's throw from the most beautiful lakes in Louisiana. However, a waterfront home requires routine maintenance. The following are some maintenance tasks you will have to tend to on your waterfront property.

Take Care of the Dehumidifier

Every waterfront home in Louisiana should have a reliable dehumidifier. This will help protect wood and other elements in the home from the buildup of moisture. You should plan to clean the dehumidifier every couple of weeks to ensure effectiveness and extend the unit's operational lifespan.

Secure the Dock & Boat Lift

Most waterfront homes in Louisiana have a dock or a boat lift. Be sure that any floating debris is removed from around the structure. If you have a floating dock, be sure that it is properly tied down. When cold spells are brewing, it is a good idea to remove the dock from the water.

If you have a boat lift, you will want to inspect the electrical components and wiring at least once per month. During your inspection, be sure to check all gears, pulleys, and cables for proper lubrication. 

Tend to the Sewage System

If the home has an aerated treatment system or septic system, you will need to clean it properly, pump it out (every 3-5 years) and chlorinate the system. You will also want to prepare it for when the temperature starts to drop. In the fall, make sure it is properly insulated and be sure to run warm water into the system if you see signs that it is starting to freeze.

Look out for Radon

Radon is more prevalent around waterfront properties. You should make sure your home is properly monitored and should take any abatement steps required if radon exposure rises above safe levels.

Shore up the Seawall

You should rigorously remove plant growth from seawalls and regularly spray them with herbicides to keep roots from causing damage. It is also vital to make sure weep holes don't clog up. At a minimum, you should inspect your seawall at least once per month and promptly repair any cracks or damage you discover.

Guard Against Pests

Louisiana is home to termites, alligators, snakes, and bugs of all shapes and sizes. If you are not careful, these pests will move into your home. Keeping landscaping properly trimmed, repairing damaged foundations and siding, caulking holes in woodwork, and removing debris from around the property will help keep these pests at bay. It is also vital to remove any pools of standing water or they become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.    

Stay Compliant

Multiple layers of legislation protect wetlands in Louisiana. You will want to make sure you have the appropriate permits and adhere to all coastal use guidelines. Failure to comply with all applicable regulations can result in significant fines.

Contact us for more information about waterfront living in Louisiana. Our REALTORS® can answer your questions and help you find the waterfront property where you can fish, swim, and boat to your heart's content.  


Moving Tips for Seniors and Retirees

Retiree Moving Tips

As your lifestyle needs change over time, so too will your housing needs. Many older adults discover their larger family homes are a little too big to maintain after children move out. If you're enjoying retirement or looking to retire soon, you may consider moving into a smaller, more manageable home. Our REALTORS® understand downsizing to a new space is easier said than done, which is why we've gathered a list of moving tips for retirees and older adults.

  • It's Never Too Early to Start Planning
    Chances are the decision to retire didn't just pop up out of the blue. Most adults have an approximate timetable of when they plan to retire, which is why it's wise to begin considering relocating or downsizing as you near this date. This involves assessing retirement finances to see what you can afford comfortably, evaluating your changing lifestyle needs, and engaging family members to communicate your plans. With their help and support, you can create an effective plan you'll be able to manage smoothly.

  • Go Through Your Belonging Over Time
    Moving is quite a feat, especially when you're deciding what to keep and what to discard. Instead of making all of these decisions at once, utilize your timetable to start periodically going through your possessions. You can begin with easy sections of your home, such as clothing, spare furniture, and holiday decorations. Sentimental items you find should be either placed in a dedicated space or written down on a list, so you know that you'll need room for them. Any other items can be marked for donation or sale.

  • Budget for the Physical Move
    Moving requires time, effort, and money — thankfully, you can control how much of each you spend if you plan accordingly. If you want to hire movers, plan on adding that into your budget. If you're going to pack and move on your own, determine how much time you'll need and who might be able to assist you.

  • Shop for Homes that Cater to Future Needs
    When you downsize, you must choose a home that will accommodate your lifestyle changes for the next few years. Consider how much physical space you need, whether or not you want to navigate stairs, and if you require certain amenities close by. Ideally, you should choose a space allowing you to enjoy your retirement without inconveniencing you or your health.

  • Understand the Emotional Impact
    Whether you're moving from your newer dream home or the house your children grew up in when you relocate you should be prepared for the unavoidable emotions. These are all-natural, and it's perfectly normal to feel slightly sad closing this chapter of your life. Rest easy knowing that this decision is best for your lifestyle needs and this next chapter will allow you to make more happy memories.

  • Be Ready With Essential Supplies
    It may be a while until you unpack, which is why you should pack a few boxes or suitcases with your essentials you can unpack immediately. This includes clothing, pots and pans, dishes, toiletries, and any other personal items you may need right away.

Don't be afraid to ask for advice. Contact us today, and we'll help you find Baton Rouge homes for sale that cater to your needs. 


How to Buy a House While Selling Your Current Home

How to Buy a HouseBuying a home is a huge decision. Selling a home is an equally important endeavor. Buying a home and selling a home at the same time? Now that's an impressive feat! It may sound overwhelming, but believe our REALTORS® when they say you can buy a new home while selling your current home. We've gathered our years of knowledge and experience with Lafayette homes for sale to help you buy a house while selling your existing home.

  1. Ask For & Accept Help 
    Before you list or make an offer, you probably already realize that dual real estate transactions will leave you with your hands full. The best first step you can make in this process is to request and accept assistance from a qualified REALTOR®. You don't want to be stuck with two mortgages, and you don't want to chance jeopardizing either sale. Enlist the help of a trusted REALTOR® who will go above and beyond to help you navigate these separate real estate transactions.
  2. Decide Whether to Buy or Sell First
    This decision is up to you. If you can reasonably afford the cost of two homes, then locking in your dream home before you sell your current home may be the right move. If you decide to sell your home first, you can negotiate with your buyer to allow you to rent back your former home until you close on your new home. This will enable you to complete the sale of your old home while still buying you time for finding and securing your new home. Alternatively, when you sell your home, you can delay the closing if the buyer agrees to give you a month or so to purchase a new home.
  3. Prepare for Buying & Selling
    Depending on which option you choose, you're now ready to either make an offer on a new home or list your current home. To reduce the gap time between the two, you should immediately prepare your home for buyer offers. Have the home inspected professionally and stage it appropriately so it's ready for the market and no surprises will pop up later during an inspection. Price your home reasonably and get ready to consider diverse offers. To prepare to buy a home, you should have your finances in order. Get pre-approved for a mortgage and identify what funds you'll use as the down payment.
  4. Let Your REALTOR® Help You Facilitate Both Transactions 
    As you venture further into the buying and selling process, you may be juggling a lot of paperwork, deadlines, and requests. Thankfully, an experienced REALTOR® can help you navigate each of these transactions, ensuring everything goes according to plan. They'll guide you through the process, step by step, communicating with all parties fluidly. Most importantly, they'll be there for you through thick and thin, resolving any hurdles and celebrating both successful sales with you!

Are you interested in selling your current home and purchasing one of the fabulous Lafayette homes for sale at the same time? Contact us today, and we'll help you accomplish all of your real estate goals!


Most Haunted Places in Acadiana

Haunted Places in Acadiana

Fall is on its way and 'tis the season for scary screams and fearful frights! Louisiana is shrouded in centuries of spooky tales ranging from voodoo and vampires. Our REALTORS® love a good ghost story — especially Acadiana area tales. We triple dog dare you to check out a few of the most haunted places in Acadiana and see if you'll live to tell your own scary story.

  1. Oaklawn Manor — 3296 E. Oaklawn Dr., Franklin, LA 70538
    Not far from Franklin homes for sale is Oaklawn Manor. This massive estate features a beautiful mansion which was built in the 1830s by Alexander Porter. In the 1840s, Henry Clay — a founder of the National Republic Party — stayed in the mansion for a short time and his room eventually kept his namesake. While you can visit Oaklawn Manor, you should know that some locals believe that the ghost of Henry Clay haunts this estate. It seems Oaklawn Manor's famous guest may have never truly left.

  2. Café Vermilionville — 1304 W. Pinhook Rd., Lafayette, LA 70503
    Lafayette is a lovely town, thanks in part to its gorgeous architecture. Café Vermilionville is a beautiful building that was built in the early 1800s. Visitors are welcome to stop by and enjoy a delicious meal — but be warned! It may have a haunted history dating back to the Civil War. The tale tells of a Yankee officer who was killed in the lobby by a jealous husband. Since then, bottles have mysteriously fallen to the floor, boarded up rooms have been wrecked by unknown forces and a mysterious man with a handlebar mustache has been seen in the bar. Some guests have never seen this man, but they have witnessed a small child in a blue dress wandering the grounds who locals believe is the ghost of a young girl who died of scarlet fever within the building many years ago.

  3. Charles Burr Lane Bridge — 2832 Charles Burr Ln., Opelousas, LA 70570
    Not all ghosts haunt buildings, which is the case on the Charles Burr Lane Bridge just up the road from Opelousas homes for sale. Legend says that an old man with a lantern haunts the bridge. Some have seen him on the bridge, others have felt his presence in the backseats of their car. Those brave enough to walk the bridge hear strange noises, feel cold shivers run up their spines and can feel the man watching their every step.

  4. T'Frere's House Boutique Bed & Breakfast — 1905 Verot School Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508
    T'Frere's House Bed & Breakfast is a wonderful place to stay when you're searching for Lafayette homes for sale — if you don't mind sleeping among ghosts, that is. This is by far, one of the most haunted places in all of Lafayette. The well behind the house is said to be the final resting place for a young widow named Amelie. Some say she jumped into the well after losing her spouse and child. Others say she took ill with a fever and fell in accidentally. One version of the story says that she and her husband were thrown into the well by disapproving family members. She's reportedly still in the bed and breakfast. Spend the night, and you may hear a woman faintly speaking French. If you feel something touch you gently in the dead of night, don't worry — it's just Amelie tucking you in…

  5. Harris Hall, University of Lafayette — 544 McKinley St., Lafayette, LA 70503
    Ask faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette about the nightly hauntings of Harris Hall, and they won't dare utter a word. Students, however, will tell you all about the tragic death of a young coed named Lily who was killed by a malfunctioning elevator in the Hall. At 11:46 PM each night, you can hear weird sounds coming from the elevator. It will even drop from the third floor to the first at that time, regardless of what button you press. Don't believe the story? Visit Lily yourself, and she'll take you on the creepiest elevator ride of your life…

Looking for a scary-good deal on a house? Contact us today, and we'll show you the best Lafayette homes for sale — that aren't haunted, of course!


Relocation 101: Tips for Buying a Home in a Different State

Relocation 101

Buying a home in another state comes with its share of unique challenges, but it's possible to find the right home from a distance if you have a plan in place. The biggest obstacle, of course, is that you won't easily be able to scout local homes and neighborhoods like you would when shopping for a home nearby. Fortunately, with a combination of technology, research, and the right real estate agent, you can find a home you'll love. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to make a long-distance move, and we've got proven tips to simplify the process of buying a home in another state.

  • Identify the Right Buyer's Agent
    If you're shopping for New Orleans homes for sale, then finding a real estate agent who knows the area should be your first step. With a little digging, you can find a qualified agent who specializes in helping people move across state lines. The right agent will have an in-depth knowledge of the market where you're shopping, from local real estate trends to potential target homes that match your needs.

  • Use Online Research to Scout Neighborhoods and Shop for Homes
    Online research will be a key source of information on your new community, and the more research you can do when buying out of state, the better. Use online research to learn about the most appealing neighborhoods in your target community, local attractions, important services, and of course, homes. When looking at online listings, remember that listing photos don't always tell the whole story. A virtual tour can give you a better impression of a property, but ideally, you'll see homes first-hand.

  • Plan a Scouting Trip to Your New City
    While there's plenty you can learn from a distance thanks to technology, there's still no substitute for seeing your new community first-hand. An in-person visit can confirm what you learned online, and reveal things that you'd never be able to see from a distance. Scouting homes is likely to be a priority, but be sure to take time to look at neighborhoods, too. Finding the right neighborhood is a big key in being happy with your new home.

  • Research Local Services, Utilities, and Property Restrictions
    When you move to your new home, you want to be able to hit the ground running. Prepare in advance by researching the local services you'll need, as well as the utilities that you'll need in your new home. Take time to learn about local property restrictions, too, so that you'll know what you can do with your new home.

  • Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions about the Sales Process
    The rules and regulations for buying a home in a new state may be different from the rules in your current location. Don't be shy about asking questions about the real estate sales process in your new state. Your real estate agent should be an excellent resource for these questions, and anything else you need to know about your new market.

No matter where you're moving from, our local real estate team can help you find the perfect New Orleans home to call your own. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA, area.


The Largest Beer Fest in Louisiana! - NOLA on Tap

NOLA on Tap

New Orleans celebrated Oktoberfest a bit early this year. NOLA on Tap, the largest beer fest in Louisiana, returned to the city for its 10th year of hop-filled fun, September parties. The festival featured a stacked lineup of music, more than 400 craft beers from around the country, great food, carnival games, prizes, and so much more. It's a great place to learn about the craft brewing scene in New Orleans, and sample unique flavors brewed from coast to coast. Our REALTORS® love local events, and we've recapped NOLA on Tap in 2019 and what you can expect for next year.

Date/Time: September 21, 2019 

Location: New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds – 4 Friedrichs Ave., New Orleans, LA 70124

  • Sample the Best Craft Brews and Fantastic Food at NOLA on Tap
    NOLA on Tap offered the perfect place for locals to explore craft beers from around the country, with more than 400 local and national brews available on-site. Attendees got to sample the best that NOLA has to offer, from home-brewed creations to products from local craft breweries. There were also many local food vendors serving up all of your favorites, and a few dishes new to the festival.
  • A Full Lineup of Live Music 
    Beer? Check. Great food? Check. Now, all that's left is dancing! There was plenty of live music to enjoy all day long. Shows were all free with admission to the festival and took place on outdoor stages. Performances included local and national artists throughout the day.
  • Fun Festival Games and Prizes
    Attendees had the opportunity to participate in fun festival games and win some great prizes. There were also a variety of competitions during the festival, where you could win some new gear to take home.
  • Explore the New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds
    New Orleans homes for sale make it easy to visit a variety of excellent local parks, and the New Orleans Park Festival Grounds are a great example of why that's the case. This large, open park is the perfect place for big festivals, with beautiful, tree-lined fields and tons of space for NOLA's biggest parties. Events like NOLA on Tap are part of what makes life in the city so special, and they wouldn't be possible without an amazing city park system.
  • NOLA on Tap Is a Dog-Friendly Festival
    This event was a completely dog-friendly festival, and you'll find plenty of friendly pups hanging with their owners around festival grounds. Dogs could even participate in the Barktoberfest competition at NOLA on Tap. Proceeds from the festival benefited the Louisiana SPCA, so this is an animal-friendly event all around.

Fun festivals and delicious drinks are simply part of life in New Orleans, and now is the perfect time to shop for a home in the city. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA, area.


7 Habits of Successful Home Buyers

Successful Home Buyers

Our REALTORS® work to ensure every transaction is a success for their clients. But did you know showing Baton Rouge homes for sale is only part of what we do?

We also provide clients with strategies to get to closing day faster and easier.

Buying a home can seem complicated, and it's an exceptionally tall order for those who've never done it before. Luckily, we have some steps to improve your odds of buying your dream home.

Here are seven habits of highly successful home buyers:

  1. Clarify Your Goals Early On
    What are the most important features you want in a home? What about surrounding amenities? Make a list of 3-5 "must-have" items. Your partner and any older children should do the same. This way, you can find areas of commonality and focus on properties that satisfy everyone.
  2. Find an Amazing Real Estate Agent
    Even if you don't choose us, make sure to select your real estate agent carefully. Find someone with plenty of local experience which provides prompt attention and answers all your questions. If you're not entirely comfortable with an agent, keep looking.
  3. Get Organized
    The early stages of getting a mortgage loan to involve paperwork. This is an uphill slog at first, but you only have to do it once. You'll need 3-6 months of recent pay stubs and 2-3 years of tax filing paperwork for most lenders to evaluate your financial health.
  4. Comparison Shop on Everything
    When buying a home, absolutely everything is up for negotiation. Start by making sure you talk to several real estate agents before picking the right one for you. Then, do the same with lenders, neighborhoods, and finally, homes. This is what puts the power in your hands.
  5. Be Proactive About Credit
    Most people have imperfect credit, but even if your credit is stellar, you can make tweaks that may improve your loan. Pay off any credit cards or other debts you can. Avoid closing or opening any credit accounts. And check your credit report for inaccurate info you could get removed.
  6. Know What You Can Afford
    Many home buyers find themselves with a range of loan options. Some discover their maximum loan offer is much more than planned! To choose a sustainable loan, start with a detailed household budget, including all your mortgage and other home expenses. Home expenses should be less than 30% of your take-home pay.
  7. Be Ready to Walk
    Even if you find the perfect home, it's crucial to be ready and willing to walk away during your negotiations. Combined with your real estate agent's negotiation skills, this mindset will protect your interests. Remember, there are many homes out there you'll love to call your own.

No Matter What Stage of Buying You're In, Expert Advice is Essential

For first-time buyers, navigating real estate can be like wandering a hall of mirrors.

Even if you're months away from being ready to make an offer on a home, don't hesitate to reach out to your friendly local real estate agents. Expert advice can get you on track, dispel worrisome real estate myths, and save you time in the long run.

Contact us to find out more. 


Fall Events Around Baton Rouge 2019

Baton Rouge Fall Festivals

Welcome fall in Baton Rouge with your friends and family at one of these annual Halloween events. Our REALTORS® love perusing pumpkin patches, hanging out on hayrides, meandering through corn mazes and savoring the splendor that autumn brings. Cooler months in Baton Rouge are a wonderful time of the year to enjoy outdoor fun and festivities. If you'd like to celebrate the harvest season with us, we invite you to attend one of these Halloween events around Baton Rouge.

  1. LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens Corn Maze & Pumpkin Decorating — 4560 Essen Ln., Baton Rouge, LA 70809 | Oct 5, 12, 19, 26 | Special Night Maze on Oct 26
    Looking for the perfect place to pick and decorate a pumpkin? Head over to the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens and have an afternoon of family-friendly fun. They've got pumpkins for decorating, farm animals for petting, corn mazes, zip-lines, hayrides and much more!
  2. Pumpkin Pi 3.14 Mile Race & Tough Pumpkin Challenge — 305 South River Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802 | Oct 19
    Think you're a tough pumpkin? The Pumpkin Pi 3.14 Race and Tough Pumpkin Challenge is unlike any other 5K you've done before. Not only is it 200 feet longer than a normal 5K, but you're also challenged to complete the run while carrying a pumpkin! Race passed the best Baton Rouge homes for sale and see if you're truly the toughest pumpkin in town! Additional prizes will be awarded for the runner wearing the best costume.
  3. Boo at the Zoo — 3601 Thomas Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70807 | Oct 19, 20, 26 & 27
    Are you ready for a scary good time at the zoo? Grab the kiddos and go to BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo during the final two weekends of October for a treat without the trick. The Enchanted Swamp in the Otter Cabin takes you on a magical walk around the boardwalks. A not-so-scary Hay Maze challenges you to find your way through while the EdZooCation Station will host a hands-on animal extravaganza.
  4. Haints, Haunts and Halloween at LSU Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens — 4600 Essen Ln., Baton Rouge, LA 70809 | Oct 27
    Return to your roots at the LSU Rural Life Museum for their Haints, Haunts and Halloween event. This short afternoon old-fashioned country fair will host plenty of fun for the whole family. Kids can trick or treat around the property, enjoy storytime, and play exciting games.
  5. Zombie Pub Crawl Through Downtown — 275 S River Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802 | Oct 18
    Adults looking for spooky fun that involves spirits of a certain kind will love the Zombie Pub Crawl through downtown Baton Rouge. Join a horde of your undead neighbors, friends, and family members as you scour the streets looking for brains and booze. For a small fee, you can even have zombie makeup applied to your face an hour before event check-in.
  6. 7th Annual Ghostly Gala — Capitol City Event Center, 6955 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806 | Oct 25
    Prepare yourself for Baton Rouge's most creative night of wicked fun! The annual Ghostly Gala returns to give you a hauntingly good time! Wear your costume and bring your food or beverage for a night of excitement. There will be a costume and table decorating contest, blacklight dance party, palm reader, silent auction, raffle, grab bags and door prizes, and plenty of fun games for adults only! Proceeds from the Gala benefit children throughout the community.

Looking for the best Baton Rouge homes for sale where you're only footsteps away from the best Halloween events in the city? Contact us today, and we'll help you with your search!


How to Make a New Town Feel Like Home

New Town Feel Like Home

Congratulations on your new house! Our REALTORS® love welcoming new neighbors to Lafayette and want you to feel at home as quickly as possible. Whether you've moved from across the street or state lines, we understand any change of residence is a significant milestone in your life. As you settle into your new life, we've gathered together a few tips you can use to make this new town feel like home.

  1. Take a Breath
    Before you do anything, take a moment to slow down, take a breath, and take in this special situation. You've just purchased your dream home and have begun the next chapter of your life! This will be a proud, happy moment you'll remember for the rest of your life — take a few minutes to savor it and celebrate.

  2. Unpack Your Belongings
    Now that you've taken a few moments to appreciate this experience, it's time to start making this house a home. This could take between a few days to over a month, depending on various factors. Don't let yourself feel too rushed or overwhelmed — everything will find its place in time. Unpack the necessities first then work room by room. Knock the kitchen out so you can cook with ease. Set up the children's bedrooms and your living room so the whole family can be entertained and relaxed.

  3. Locate Important Places
    You may be tempted to explore every twist and turn of your surroundings, but we first recommend figuring out where specific places are. Locate the nearest grocery store, urgent care facility, clothing store, veterinarian office, your place of employment, churches, your child's school, etc. These are places that you may need to visit at any time of the day or night, which means it's important to know where they are and how to get to them before you need to.

  4. Wander Without a Plan
    Once you know where the necessary spaces are, feel free to explore the rest of your area however you want. Though you can drive around to get your bearings, we recommend taking the time to either walk or bike around these neighborhoods. Discover cozy coffee shops and popular eateries. Check out the vibrant arts, culture, and nightlife within each community. Who knows — some of the spots you find may turn into your favorite spaces!

  5. Explore Online
    Do you feel a little hesitant about venturing out without a plan? Go online and research what's around your neighborhood. You can read reviews, get directions, and make a game plan of places to visit before you head out of your home.

  6. Get Involved
    One of the best ways to discover activities, friends, and places in a new town is to get involved in any capacity possible. Volunteer, join a recreational sports league, sign up for a class at the community center, visit a museum, attend a sport's game or concert — whatever you choose to do, getting involved in an activity where you can meet and get to know the city will help you feel one with the community.

  7. Introduce Yourself to Your Neighbors
    Many of your neighbors will have lived in their homes for years, maybe decades! Introduce yourself and begin building strong relationships with those closest to your home.

  8. Relax & Rest Assured
    Moving to a new house can feel scary at times, but rest assured, it will feel like home before you know it! Just try to relax, stay positive, and enjoy the excitement and discovery that comes with living in a new town!

Contact us today and let us show you our great Lafayette homes for sale!


Fall Festival Season Around Lafayette

Lafayette Fall Festivals

Autumn is around the corner, and our REALTORS® are excited for the return of the fall festival season! Throughout the Lafayette area, our towns come alive with festive food and fun to celebrate the harvest season. We invite you to come and join us at one of our fall festivals around the community.

  1. Great Painted Pumpkin Festival — Parc International 200 Garfield Street Lafayette, LA 70501 Saturday, October 12
    Head Downtown at 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 12 for Van Eaton & Romero's first Great Painted Pumpkin Festival. It's fun for all and all for fun! If you want to enter the competition, register on If you just want to join the fun and celebrate the painted pumpkins that your friends and neighbors create, head down to the Parc International area in Downtown Lafayette and see all the fantastic designs!  

  2. Louisiana Cattle Festival & Fair — 2901 Rodeo Rd., Abbeville, LA 70510 | Oct 10-13
    Eight-time winner of the Fair of the Year award, the Louisiana Cattle Festival & Fair is a barnful of fun! Taking place at its new location, The Red Barn, you can immerse yourself in Cajun culture and party until the cows come home! View the livestock show, eat delicious beef, and have a blast with all of the fun games and rides! The best part about it--all this is happening just around the corner from Abbeville homes for sale

  3. 21st Annual Franklin Merchants Association Harvest Moon Festival — 300 Iberia St., Franklin, LA 70538 | Oct 26
    The annual Harvest Moon Festival takes place throughout Main Street in Franklin each year. An easy walk from Franklin homes for sale, this event features live music, activities for kids and a classic car show. The Harvest Moon Festival was created to celebrate the local merchants of Franklin and this year they'll be offering special discounts and promotions throughout the event! Stop down and start your holiday shopping early while supporting Franklin's local business owners!

  4. Blackpot Festival & Cookoff — 300 Fisher Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508 | Oct 25-26
    For over a decade, the Vermilionville Historic Village has hosted the delicious Blackpot Festival & Cookoff to celebrate the music, food, and culture of Southwest Louisiana. This two-day event features a mouth-watering cookoff where cooks of all skill levels compete for bragging rights by serving up their best gumbo, cracklins, jambalaya, and gravies. Be sure to buy a ticket or go all-out and camp the entire week at Lakeview Park & Beach to celebrate Blackpot Festival in style!

  5. Holy Ghost Creole Festival Bazaar — 788 North Union St., Opelousas, LA 70570 | Nov 1-3
    The Holy Ghost Creole Festival Bazaar is the tastiest way to celebrate Creole culture this fall! Taking place at the Holy Ghost Catholic Church, this weekend event features live music, a Creole heritage parade, and plates on plates of mouth-watering food. Be sure not to pass up some of their famous sweet dough pies! You'll find this fall fun near Opelousas homes for sale.

  6. Festivals Acadiens et Creoles — 500 Girard Park Dr., Lafayette, LA 70503 | Oct 10-13
    The annual Festivals Acadiens et Creoles has a long and proud history in the city. Taking place at Girard Park across from the best Lafayette homes for sale, this event is a beautiful blend of culture, food, and music that celebrates Cajun and Creole lifestyles. The Louisiana Craft Fair also takes place at this festival, offering you a full weekend up festivities and fun!

  7. Bayou Round Up — 2330 Johnston St. Lafayette, LA 70503 | Oct 18-19
    Hot rods, vintage cars, live music and delicious food — the Bayou Round Up is celebrating its 5th year in style. Held outside of the Blackham Coliseum, this event brings big fun to the bayou that you do not want to miss!

  8. Boudin Cook-Off — 201 E. Vermilion St., Lafayette, LA 70501 | Oct 19
    The premiere boudin event in the state, the Boudin Cook-Off is held in downtown Lafayette in the Parc International. This year, the Acadiana Bacon Fest joins the cook-off for a full day of food and family-friendly fun! Sign up for the boudin ball eating contest or sample the best bacon and boudin from around the state!

Looking for a great place to call home in Lafayette? Contact us today, and we'll show you all of the Lafayette homes for sale in the area! 


10 Ways to Ramp Up Your Fall Curb Appeal

Fall Curb Appeal

Catching the attention of potential buyers starts at the curb, and you don't want to miss your chance to make a positive first impression. Curb appeal is an important factor in selling your home no matter the season, and fall is no exception. As the weather turns cooler and the leaves change colors, there's plenty you can do to make sure your home looks its best. Our REALTORS® are here to assist, with ten fall curb appeal tips that will help get your home sold.

  1. Keep Your Lawn Cut and Maintained
    If you want your home to stand out from other New Orleans homes for sale, it pays to start with the basics. Make sure your lawn is cut, edged, and healthy throughout the fall season so your home will always be ready when buyers arrive.

  2. Clear Out Leaves and Debris
    Fall foliage is beautiful and can add to the look of any property... but only when it's still hanging on the trees. Keep your property looking clean by regularly clearing out fallen leaves and other debris.

  3. Trim Trees and Shrubs
    Autumn provides the perfect opportunity to trim trees and shrubs, which is an easy way to boost curb appeal. Make sure nothing is looking overgrown, and all plant life is tastefully trimmed.

  4. Fall Flowers Add a Splash of Color
    With your yard looking clean and well-maintained, now is the perfect time to add a splash of color. Consider adding some fall flowers, like mums, pansies, aster, or chrysanthemums for a fresh look.

  5. Clean the Exterior of Your Home
    With trees trimmed and leaves falling, the exterior of your home will be taking center stage in the fall. Make sure it's looking great by cleaning windows, and pressure washing the outside of your home. If the paint on the exterior of your home has seen better days, a fresh coat can work wonders for the property's curb appeal.

  6. Make Sure Your Front Door Is Looking Its Best
    While you're reviewing the outside of your home, pay special attention to the front door. Check that the entrance to your home is clean, the paint is looking great, and all fixtures are at their best.

  7. Clean Out Gutters
    No buyer wants to see a home with overflowing gutters, so take time to clean out the gutters around the home. If you don't like spending time on a ladder, a pro can handle this task for you.

  8. Keep Holiday Decorations Simple
    While there's nothing wrong with decorating for the holidays when selling your home, it's best to keep your decorating simple. You want buyers to be able to imagine their own lives in the home, and too much outdoor clutter makes that process more difficult.

  9. Add Exterior Lighting
    Curb appeal doesn't stop when the sun goes down! Exterior lighting can add a ton to outdoor spaces around your home, and solar lighting is easy to install. Use exterior lighting to highlight walkways and shed light on all the things that make the home special.

  10. Porch and Patio Decor
    While you don't want to overdo outdoor furnishings, you also don't want to present buyers with an empty porch or patio. Clean, attractive outdoor furniture and small, tasteful decorations can add plenty of life to any porch or patio.

Searching for a real estate team that will help get your home sold fast, no matter the season? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans and Gulf South area.


Top of the Class - Universities & Colleges Around New Orleans

New Orleans Universities

Do you dream of going to college in one of the best cities in the world? In addition to its many other charms, New Orleans happens to be an excellent place to go to school. The city's history, attractions, cultural diversity, weather, and frequent festivities make it a popular place to attend college, drawing students from around the world. Whether you're looking for a large, public university or a small, specialized private school, you'll find a college close to home in New Orleans. Our REALTORS® have all the details on five top colleges and universities around New Orleans.

  1. Tulane University – 6823 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118
    Tulane University
    is a great place to start if you're looking for an excellent college close to New Orleans homes for sale. The school was established in 1834 as a medical college and has since grown to become one of the country's best research institutions. Today, students at Tulane enjoy a diverse selection of learning and research opportunities, from science to local history and culture. The student population typically numbers less than 9,000, which makes for small class sizes and plenty of opportunities to connect with the faculty.

  2. Southern University at New Orleans – 6400 Press Dr., New Orleans, LA 70126
    Looking for a smaller school close to all that New Orleans has to offer? Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) has seen extensive growth in recent decades, with new buildings for social work, arts, humanities, and social sciences. SUNO is part of the Southern University network and has a student population of around 2,300 which allows everyone to get the individual attention they need to succeed.

  3. The University of New Orleans – 2000 Lakeshore Dr., New Orleans, LA 70148
    With a scenic campus, affordable tuition, and a wide selection of subjects to study, it's no surprise The University of New Orleans draws a diverse student base from New Orleans and beyond. The University of New Orleans is known for its forward-looking class offerings, on topics like robotics, urban planning, hospitality, film, finance, and everything in between. It's all located on a vibrant, local campus with easy access to all of the attractions, culture, and history that New Orleans has to offer.

  4. Loyola University New Orleans – 6363 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118
    Loyola University New Orleans
    was established in 1904 as a Jesuit university and has since grown into one of the city's most respected learning institutions. Loyola focuses on providing each student with the resources they need to succeed, with a 10:1 student to faculty ratio and a diverse group of students from a wide range of backgrounds. Educators at Loyola focus on shaping students as people while providing all of the tools that they need to succeed academically.

  5. Xavier University of Louisiana – 1 Drexel Dr., New Orleans, LA 70125
    Xavier University of Louisiana
    holds a unique position as the country's only Historically Black and Catholic university and has a reputation for providing excellent education in STEM fields. The historic Xavier campus is home to a student population of around 3,300 and offers a wide range of majors. The College of Pharmacy is an especially popular choice and graduates many new pharmacists every year.

Ready to start shopping for a home close to all of the educational and cultural attractions of New Orleans? We can help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA area.


Best Coffee Shops in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge Coffee ShopsGrab your favorite mug and get ready to fill it to the brim with caffeinated goodness. National Coffee Day is September 29th and our REALTORS® are excited to head out around Baton Rouge to spend a little time at our favorite cafés. Whether you're grabbing a quick cup before work or if you have the time to relax and sip in serenity, we invite you to celebrate National Coffee Day at one of these great cafés in and around Baton Rouge homes for sale.

  1. French Truck Coffee — 2978 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    You can't go far in Louisiana without running into a French Truck Coffee location. This favorite coffee shop believes that the freshest coffee beans should be roasted in small batches and served immediately to the coffee lovers of Baton Rouge. Stop into their café for a fresh cup and be sure to bring your own bag home so you can drink French Truck Coffee without ever leaving one of our great Baton Rouge homes for sale.

  2. Strands Café — 226 Laurel St., Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    Looking for a European style patisserie without ever needing to leave Baton Rouge? Head over to Strands Café for a boutique café experience unlike any other in the city that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Come in and enjoy delicious coffee with a scrumptious side of chocolates or pastries. Join their Pineapple Club to receive a discount on all pastries and coffee! There are plenty of cafes near Baton Rouge homes for sale for you to visit on National Coffee Day but only Strands Café will welcome you in like family!

  3. Light House Coffee — 257 Lee Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Light House Coffee is more than a humble café — they're trying to make an impact on the world. From the ethical sourcing of their coffee to hosting educational classes that enable immigrants and refugees to obtain higher-paying jobs, Light House Coffee is truly a coffee experience that impacts our world. Stop in and try one of their great brews near Baton Rouge homes for sale. Signature cups like the Cinnamon Roll Latte and Sparkling Cardamom Cold Brew are just as good as their au laits, cortados, and espressos.

  4. PJ's Coffee — 20103 Old Scenic Hwy, Zachary, LA 70791
    Not far from Zachary homes for sale is PJ's Coffee, one of the original specialty coffee brands. Their famous blends like the Maple Street Blend, French Breakfast, and Carnival Blend are just a few of the cups that have made PJ's famous throughout the state.

  5. Rue Beignet — 18135 E. Petroleum Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    Coffee and beignets — if that's not the perfect start to any morning then we don't know what is! Rue Beignet bakes fresh hot beignets before daybreak every morning so you can start your day with a delicious batch of beignets and a hot cup of their tasty café au lait near Baton Rouge homes for sale.

  6. CC's Coffee House — 2200 S. Range Ave., Denham Springs, LA 70726
    CC's Coffee House believes that any time is a good time for coffee! Stop by their location near Denham Springs homes for sale and try their coffee house classics. The fresh-brewed Cypress Sunrise Blend, Uptown Jazz Blend, and Southern Sunset Blend will make you wish every day was National Coffee Day!

  7. Birdman Coffee & Books — 5687 Commerce St., St. Francisville, LA 70775
    There's no better way to spend National Coffee Day than with a brew and a book. Head on over to Birdman Coffee & Books for fresh coffee, homemade baked goods and a new novel that's sure to find a high place on your bookshelf. This cozy café near Saint Francisville homes for sale will quickly become your favorite hangout spot!

Would you like to find your dream house near the best Baton Rouge coffee shops? Contact us today and we'll show you plenty of great homes in and around the Baton Rouge area!


Setting the Bar - Baton Rouge Breweries on National Drink Beer Day

Baton Rouge Breweries

National Drink Beer Day is on September 28th and our REALTORS® want to raise a glass to the Baton Rouge breweries that set the bar high for Louisiana brews! The Bayou State has plenty of delicious homebrewed beer selections, and Baton Rouge isn't without its own acclaimed brewhouses. See what's on tap at one of these five awesome breweries where you can have rounds of fun on National Drink Beer Day!

  1. Southern Craft Brewing Company - 14141 Airline Hwy Ste 4J, Baton Rouge, LA 70817
    A brewery built from the ground up, Southern Craft Brewing Company is serving up a true Southerner's beer. You can taste everything from Southern hospitality to Southern ingredients in every sip of their cold, frothy beers. Try their mainstays like the Red Stick Rye, Pompous Pelican or Swamp Sting. Ask them about their seasonal or limited release beers to try.

  2. Tin Roof Brewing - 1624 Wyoming St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    Tin Roof Brewing Company invites you to get to know their beers in one of the best brewhouses in the city. The Voodoo has won an award from the Great American Beer Festival, so we suggest meeting that hoppy wonder first. Although they do have daily happy hours, Tin Roof also has Yoga On Tap. Come to this weekly meetup for an hour of evening yoga and discounted beers to help you truly find your Zen.

  3. The Bull Dog Baton Rouge - 4385 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    The Bull Dog Baton Rouge is centrally located in our Southdown neighborhood. On National Drink Beer Day you'll have a selection of 81 draft beers (mostly craft and local) or 150+ bottled beers. While many go to The Bull Dog Baton Rouge for their extensive craft beer and cocktail selections, their dining selection is popular too.

  4. BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse — 6401 Bluebonnet Blvd #740, Baton Rouge, LA 70836 
    You may know BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse as a favorite franchise eatery, but if you have never been inside then you'll be surprised to learn that their extensive beer list includes over a dozen of their own unique brews. Stop in for lunch or dinner and make your way across their drafts on tap. BJ's Tatonka Stout, PM Porter or Committed Double IPA are great for dark beer drinkers while lighter lovers will enjoy BJ's Casa de Cerveza, Harvest Hefeweizen and Brewhouse Blonde.

  5. Cypress Coast Brewing - 5643 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806 
    Mid-City's newest brewery was recently founded right across the road from Baton Rouge homes for saleCypress Coast Brewing Company's reopening after summer 2019 will bring their artfully brewed craft beers back to the Baton Rouge area.

Looking for a great Baton Rouge home near one of these fantastic breweries? Contact us today and we will show you everything the Baton Rouge real estate market has on tap!


You Can Buy a Home with Student Loan Debt

Home Buying and Student Loan Debt
Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. And if you're one of the 44 million Americans still trying to pay off their student loans, you've probably wondered how it will affect your ability to own your own home. 

Buying a house – especially if it's your first house – is stressful enough without having to worry about whether your student loan debt will squash your dreams of homeownership. Our REALTORS® are here to help, and to let you know that yes, it is still possible to become a homeowner if you have outstanding student loans.

  • Know where you stand with student loans
    As surprising as it may sound, many people don't know what's going on with their student loans. It's essential that you know exactly how much you owe, whom you owe it to, and what your payment options are. Keeping track of these important points will make it easier to stay on top of your loans and manage your finances well. 
  • Keep an eye on your credit score
    Your credit score is one of the main factors that lenders use to determine whether they will be willing to offer you a home loan. The good news is that your student loan debt probably won't have any adverse effect on your credit score, as long as you've been keeping up with your payments. To maintain a good credit score, remember to pay your bills on time, diversify the types of credit you use, and work on improving your credit utilization (the ratio between the amount you owe, and the amount of available credit you have). 
  • Talk to a lender
    Before you start looking at houses, it's a good idea to talk to a mortgage lender about your options. Most lenders will be perfectly willing to give you advice based on your current situation without any obligation to apply for a loan. Doing this early on will give you a more accurate picture of how you can work on your finances, and what your price range may be for a new home. 
  • Work on your debt-to-income ratio
    Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio reflects your monthly debt payments as a percentage of your monthly income. Lenders will use this ratio to determine if you would have enough income left over, after all, your other payments, to pay back a home loan. Many lenders use what is known as the "28/36 qualifying ratio," which essentially means that you should spend no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income on housing, and no more than 36 percent on debt. Because your DTI has two components – debt and income – you can improve it in two ways: pay back existing debt, earn more money, or both.
  • Look for down payment assistance
    A number of down payment assistance programs are acceptable to lenders, and many are available even to first-time homebuyers with student loan debt. You may be able to qualify for federal programs like an FHA Loan through the Federal Housing Authority, which would mean a down payment of as little as 3.5 percent. You could also qualify for a VA loan if you have served in the military, or a USDA loan if you're buying a home in a rural area. 

If you're trying to buy a home with student loan debt, we're here to help. Contact us today to learn more about your options. We've helped countless families find Lafayette homes for sale that match their needs and budget. We can get you on the right track on your road to homeownership.


A Final Walk-Through Checklist for Home Buyers

Final Walkthrough Checklist
Buying a home seems like a process with an endless number of steps. But if you've made it far enough for your final walk-through, then congratulations are in order. You're really in the home stretch now, and our REALTORS® are here to make sure that your final walk-through is a success. Here's what you need to know:

Have Your REALTOR® With You

The main purpose of a final walk-through is to make sure that the house is in the condition you agreed to buy it in, and it's always best to have your REALTOR® with you. Doing your final walk-through alongside a professional will make this crucial step much easier, bringing an added understanding of the home buying process and a seasoned eye for detail.

Bring the Essentials

Don't arrive at your final walk-through empty-handed! Make sure you have all these essential items so you can ensure that your future home is in good shape:

  • Your final contract, so you know what should and should not be in the house when you buy it.
  • Notepad and pen, so you can quickly jot down any questions or observations as you walk through the house. 
  • Your phone, so you can take pictures of anything you need to make a record of.
  • Phone charger, in case your phone dies, but also so that you can make sure the electrical outlets are functional.
  • Inspection summary, to double-check that all necessary repairs have been completed.

Be Thorough

You have a lot of items to check as you perform your final walk-through, so leave no stone unturned. This is one of the reasons it's great to have your REALTOR® with you – they can help keep you on track and make sure everything gets checked. Be sure to include these important items on your final walk-through checklist: 

  • Verify repairs. If the seller was required to make any repairs, carefully check that they have all been made. 
  • Check items included in the sale. Home sales can include anything from appliances and furniture to carpets and window blinds. Make sure everything is there that's supposed to be. 
  • Test windows and doors. Make sure all the windows and doors open and close without sticking, and also that all the screens are present and the locks work properly. 
  • Inspect bathrooms thoroughly. Inspect for mold and water damage. Make sure all toilets run and flush properly without leaking. Check all faucets and showerheads, and make sure all drains flow freely. 
  • Check the condition of the kitchen. Mold and water damage can be issues in kitchens too; be sure to check under sinks, inside cabinets, and behind the fridge.
  • Make sure all the appliances work. Any appliances included in the house should be in good working order, from microwaves and stoves to washers and dryers.
  • Try out the heating and A/C. Turn on the furnace to make sure it works, even if it's the middle of summer; same goes for the air conditioning. 
  • Test the electricity. Plug a phone charger into each outlet to make sure it works.
  • Look for signs of pests. Check every room in the house, but especially the attic and basement, for signs of mice, insects and other pests. 
  • Tour the property. Make sure the landscape looks like you remember it, and check all hoses and irrigation to make sure they're functional. 

Contact us today to learn more about the final steps you need to take before your dream home becomes your own! From finding the perfect Lafayette home for sale to your final walk-through, our team is with you every step of the way. 


Lafayette Living: Discover the Plate Lunch Paradise

Lunch in LafayetteWhile the Lafayette area is well-known for outstanding Creole and Cajun cuisine, the humble but satisfying plate lunch is an equally popular staple of the local restaurant scene. Our REALTORS® take you on a tour of some of our Lafayette locals' favorite places for plate lunch specials.

  • Soulful Eats - 1815 Charity St., Abbeville, LA 70510
    When you serve the kind of delicious, homemade food found at Soulful Eats, you don't need a trendy name. Everything on the menu is indeed full of the heart and soul that comes from people who are passionate about cooking. Weekday plate lunch specials feature items such as smothered turkey necks and fried pork chops, while BBQ plate lunches are available on Sunday from 11 a.m. until they're sold out, so stop in before viewing Abbeville homes for sale. Soulful Eats is open for lunch and dinner every weekday but Monday.
  • Blazin Wings - 1015 Main St., Franklin, LA 70538
    Not surprisingly, chicken is the main event at Blazin Wings, just minutes from Franklin homes for sale. But they also put a creative spin on the classic plate lunch by incorporating Louisiana seafood and Southern favorites like hush puppies with global dishes such as hummus and fried rice. The plate lunches, along with the chicken, shrimp and fish meals, are perfect for take-out.
  • Kelly's Diner - 1531 S. Union St., Opelousas, LA 70570
    The retro-50s decor at family-owned-and-operated Kelly's Diner creates the perfect ambiance to enjoy their tasty plate lunches. Many of the main items come from Kelly's Country Meat Block, the adjacent butcher shop and market. Several items are prepared using proprietary sauces created and made in Kelly's kitchen and sold next door. Be sure and save room, because the plate lunches at Kelly's include dessert. Hours are 10-:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily, making it easy to fit in a visit as you tour Opelousas homes for sale.
  • Glenda's Creole Kitchen - 3232 Main Hwy., Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
    No less an authority than the late Anthony Bourdain proclaimed Glenda's Creole Kitchen as serving "the gravy of the gods." Glenda opened her restaurant in 2000 after co-workers began paying for her home-cooked lunches. Each Monday through Saturday, the menu features a different pair of side dishes to accompany a rotating selection of four to six plate lunch options. On Sunday Glenda's serves a BBQ dinner with your choice of entrée and sides for $11. Hours are 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily, and there's a handy drive-thru window to swing by before or after visiting Breaux Bridge homes for sale.
  • Dwight's - 4800 Johnston St., Lafayette, LA 70503
    If it's variety you're looking for, you don't have to travel far from Lafayette homes for sale to find it at Dwight's. A different assortment of plate lunches is offered every day and they're served cafeteria-style, so you can order half-and-half to sample other options. Dwight's is also known for crawfish, and during the season you can enjoy a traditional boiled dinner each evening. On Sunday it's time for Dwight's popular BBQ lunch, which begins at 11 a.m. and lasts as long as the food does. Weekday lunch hours are 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Whether it's dining, culture or entertainment you seek, Lafayette has something for everyone. Contact us for help buying or selling your Lafayette area home.


Downtown Lafayette Galleries

Art Galleries LafayetteCreativity at Every Corner

Lafayette has a uniquely vibrant culture and nowhere is it more evident than in the profusion of artistic creativity in the area. Whether you're looking to decorate Lafayette homes for sale or you just want to admire expressions of talent, pay a visit to these great galleries in and around Lafayette.

  • The Cajun Picasso - 102 Woodvale Ave., Lafayette, LA 70503
    With a name like The Cajun Picasso, how could you resist taking a peek inside? Dusty Reed, who shares his nickname with the gallery, is a lifelong resident of Southern Louisiana who finds endless inspiration in his hometown of Lafayette. His mixed-media Louisiana folk art, or as he dubs it, "colk art," is distinguished by vivid images and bright colors. Gallery hours are noon - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by appointment.
  • Sans Souci Fine Crafts Gallery - 219 E. Vermilion St., Lafayette, LA 501
    It's appropriate that Sans Souci Fine Crafts Gallery, home of the Louisiana Crafts Guild, should be housed in what is believed to be the oldest commercial building in downtown Lafayette. If you're looking for a gift or a treat for yourself, Southern Living Magazine named the gallery as one of the top places to shop in the South. Browse one-of-a-kind items of pottery, textiles, glass, and other media, all created by the 250+ members of the Guild. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum - 710 E. St. Mary Blvd., Lafayette, LA 70503
    The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum may have its roots in academics, but its broader vision is that "viewing art promotes dialogue and understanding between individuals, families, and communities." In addition to a permanent collection of European, Asian and American works, the museum presents exhibits featuring a wide range of artists with local ties. The museum is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours of 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. each Wednesday, during which admission is free. Regular admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids aged 5 to 17.  
  • Abbeville Cultural and Historical Alliance Center - 200 N. Magdalen Square, Abbeville, LA 70510
    Abbeville homes for sale have enviable access to the Abbeville Cultural and Historical Alliance Center, a remarkable multi-layered facility honoring the city's rich heritage. Within the Center, the Vermilion Arts Council maintains a gallery with a changing display of original works, predominately from local artists. The Council's Carousel of Arts is a popular annual event. Hours at the Center are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
  • Todd Art Gallery - 700 Main St., Franklin, LA 70538
    Photographs can make you see even familiar objects from a whole new perspective. Todd Art Gallery features stunning photographic images of local and regional scenes taken by Francis Todd, father of gallery owner Glenn Todd. Many prints are available framed or on canvas, ready for a place of honor in Franklin homes for sale
  • Cajun Palette Art Gallery - 2942 Grand Point Hwy., Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
    Cajun culture is an integral part of Louisiana's heritage, and some of its artistic contributions are on view at Cajun Palette Art Gallery. Original works are available as well as limited edition prints along with jewelry, ornaments, and photographs. The gallery is open noon - 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, so take a break from touring Breaux Bridge homes for sale and drop by.

Our REALTORS® have the inside scoop on the events, activities, and amenities that make the Lafayette area such a special place to live. Contact us for more information on selling or buying a home.


Where to Get the Best Yakamein in New Orleans

Yaka Mein New Orleans

Yakamein, also known as "Old Sober" or simply "Yock," is a distinctly New Orleans dish featuring a mash-up of Asian and African-American flavors. While it originated as a street food served in a styrofoam cup, yakamein has found its way onto the menus of several local restaurants.

Discover the joys of yakamein at one of these locations near New Orleans homes for sale.

  • Meauxbar - 942 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70116
    Meauxbar is an elegant French bistro adding its own upscale twist to yakamein. Chef John Bel tweaks the classic recipe by using short ribs or rib-eye instead of stew beef and adding crispy bits of fried chicken skin for texture. Meauxbar opens for dinner at 5 p.m. daily, while brunch is served from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on weekends. Yaka-main is offered on both menus.

  • Capt. Sal's Seafood and Chicken - 3168 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117
    Traditional New Orleans seafood recipes handed down from family members form the foundation of the menu at Capt. Sal's Seafood and Chicken. But they have also incorporated some popular Chinese dishes, and as one Yelp user described it, the yakamein at Capt. Sal's is "a physically and spiritually curative experience." Veggies like bok choy, carrots and bell peppers make this yakamein a bit lighter than other versions. Capt. Sal's is open 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. seven days a week.

  • Prime Example Jazz Club - 1909 N. Broad, New Orleans, LA 70119
    What's better than a hearty bowl of yakamein? How about enjoying your soup over the smooth sounds of live music at Prime Example Jazz Club? True to her New Orleans roots, chef Germaine Gains also prepares popular Creole dishes such as gumbo, red beans, and rice and fried or grilled catfish. Prime Example opens at 4 p.m. weekdays and 7 p.m. Saturday.

  • Red Rooster - 2801-1/2 Washington Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113
    Indulge your craving for two New Orleans originals at Red Rooster, which opened in 1977 as a stand selling snowballs. This sweet hot-weather treat is made with fine, fluffy shaved ice and a variety of flavored cane sugar syrup. As Red Rooster expanded from seasonal to year-round, they added a number of dishes including yakamein. Red Rooster is primarily a take-out window, but they have added some covered outdoor seating. Hours are 10:30 a.m. 6:30 p.m. every day but Sunday.

  • Rampart Food Store - 1700 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70116
    Ask locals about "the orange place" and they'll direct you to Rampart Food Store, a citrus-colored convenience store with a take-out counter in the back. Rampart uses ramen noodles instead of the traditional spaghetti noodles in their yakamein and adds texture with fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Rampart is open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m daily except for Sunday, when they close at 7 p.m.

  • The Yaka-Mein Lady - Various locations
    No list of top yakamein purveyors in New Orleans would be complete without Linda Green, aka the Yaka-Mein Lady. Linda gained iconic status in the local culinary community on the strength of her near-perfect yakamein, which has been called "the gold standard." National publications and TV networks such as the New York Times, Food Network and Travel Channel have also sung Linda's praises. Linda's yakamein can be found at every major New Orleans festival and as a regular fixture at After Hours, the Wednesday night entertainment series at Ogden Museum. Planning a party or special event? The Yaka-Mein Lady also offers catering services.

New Orleans is a city full of literal and figurative flavor like no place else. Contact us and let our REALTORS® provide experienced help buying or selling your New Orleans home.


2019 Southern Decadence Festival

Southern Decadence
Every year on Labor Day weekend, New Orleans shows its pride with one of the biggest parties on the planet. The Southern Decadence Festival is the largest annual LGBTQ event in the city, with a fantastic weekend of events for all to enjoy. There will be dancing, drinks, live music, and great times all weekend long, with tons of parties at popular LGBTQ spots throughout the city. The Southern Decadence Parade, which takes place on Sunday afternoon, is the keystone event, and it's one party you definitely won't want to miss. Our REALTORS® have all the details on what to expect from the Southern Decadence Festival in 2019.

Location: The French Quarter, New Orleans
Date/Time: Thursday, August 29 through Sunday, September 2, 2019
Admission: Free Events on the Street – Weekend Passes Available for Nightly Parties Indoors

  • The History of the Southern Decadence Festival
    The Southern Decadence Festival has become one of the city's biggest, best-known events, and it started from humble beginnings. In 1972, a group of friends living just outside the French Quarter organized a costumed going-away party for a member of their group. There were 40 or 50 people at the first event, and it was a huge hit. Over time, the festival became more organized and attracted a larger audience. Today, it's the biggest gay party in New Orleans and an event that's known around the world.

  • Free Events on the Street
    Put on your most decadent costume and head for the streets to enjoy a weekend of fun with friends new and old. Most of the festival takes place on the streets of the French Quarter and is free to attend. There will be food, drink, live music, dancing, and much more all weekend long. Saturday evening features a free outdoor concert on Bourbon Street, with Deborah Cox, Jennifer Holliday, and Jeanie Tracy all taking the stage.

  • Nightlife at Southern Decadence
    This is NOLA, so you won't be surprised to learn that Southern Decadence is an around-the-clock party. Head from the streets to the most popular nightlife spots in the French Quarter for a weekend of unforgettable events. Dance the night away, enjoy your favorite drinks, participate in truly unique contests, listen to sets from the best local DJs, and enjoy special guest DJs from around the world.

  • The Southern Decadence Parade
    While the whole weekend is one big party, there's no doubt that the Southern Decadence Parade is one of the biggest highlights of the festival. Don your decadent gear and head to the starting point at the Golden Lantern. The parade is lead by Grand Marshalls, who may follow the planned route but have been known to take a few detours. This decadent, fun-filled parade is a fantastic event, whether you're watching from the streets or participating in the parade yourself.

  • A Full Weekend of Fun
    New Orleans homes for sale make it easy to enjoy every minute of the festival. The fun at Southern Decadence starts on Thursday at midnight with the Welcome Party and continues throughout the weekend. While most of the festivities are free, there are some paid events at local nightlife spots during the evenings. You can pick up tickets to individual events, or grab a Weekend Pass to ensure that you won't miss a thing.

The Southern Decadence Festival is one of the biggest parties in New Orleans every year, and a fantastic example of the inclusivity and community that all residents of the city enjoy. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA area.


Home Buying for Multigenerational Families

Multigenerational Home
Multigenerational homes have become increasingly popular in the last decade, and the trend doesn't look like it's slowing down anytime soon. The configurations vary, with grandparents coming to live with their children, or parents shopping for a home with their adult children. While there are several advantages to a multigenerational home, it's important to know what to shop for to find a home that can accommodate everyone under one roof. Our REALTORS® love helping you find the right home, and we've got some home-buying tips for all the members of your family.

  • Decide Who Will Be Living Under One Roof
    Buyers shop for multigenerational homes for many reasons, and sometimes the pressure is on to find a multigenerational home quickly because a member of the family had a significant life change. Whenever possible, sit down to consider who will be living in the home, how long they'll be staying, and what they will need from the home.
  • Consider the Needs of Each Generation
    Let's say you're shopping for New Orleans homes for sale to find a multigenerational home. The first step is figuring out what each generation will need, and that usually starts with privacy. That may mean private living spaces, a separate apartment-style dwelling within the home, or another dwelling attached to the home. Think about which parts of the house each generation will share, and where everyone will go when they need time for themselves.
  • Separate Living Spaces for Privacy and Comfort
    Separate living areas are often key to keeping everyone happy in a multigenerational home. People usually spend a lot of time in the common areas, but even the most tight-knit families probably don't want to spend every minute together. Private spaces can be as simple as separate master suites for sleeping, or provide entirely separate spaces for cooking, eating, relaxing, and resting.
  • Find an Experienced Real Estate Agent
    Shopping for a multigenerational home is different than shopping for a single-family home, and the right real estate agent can make the process much easier for you. The right agent will already have an idea of the types of multigenerational homes available in the area. They can help you identify a home that suits the unique needs of your family.
  • Research Popular Home Types in Target Markets
    The types of multigenerational homes available to you will depend in part on the market where you're shopping, and the home designs popular in that area. In some communities, duplexes or split houses are very common, while in others you'll find homes with dedicated guest spaces that can double as living spaces. Your real estate agent should be a big help in discovering what's available, and deciding what layout will work best for your multigenerational family.
  • To Buy or to Build
    It's possible to find the perfect multigenerational home without building one from scratch, but it doesn't hurt to consider all of your options. If you need a specific layout for your multigenerational home, or you can't find a fit in your target neighborhood, there are plenty of custom builders who can assist. Your real estate agent can help you find the right lot, in the right neighborhood, if you're planning to build your own home.

Searching for a real estate team that can help you find a home that will make every generation happy? We can help. Contact us at Latter & Blum REALTORS® to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA area.


Baton Rouge Free Concert Series Live After 5 Fall Lineup

Baton Rouge Fall Concerts

Live After 5 Concert Series in Baton Rouge

When our REALTORS® show clients Baton Rouge homes for sale, they're often asked about the area's social scene. We could spend all day talking about the great dining and entertainment options in Baton Rouge, but one of our favorites is the Live After 5 Concert Series

This free, family-friendly event is guaranteed fun plus a great way to get to know your new neighbors. Here's everything you need to know so you can make the most of it. 

What is Live After 5?

Live After 5 is a community event sponsored by the Downtown Business Association. It's held for six weeks every spring and fall and is the largest free concert series in the city. The event attracts over 5,000 people every weekend. The crowd always enjoys unwinding after a long week, and you can expect to see lots of singing, dancing, and smiles. 

In addition to great music, you'll also find local food, adult beverages, art vendors, and a kid's area complete with an obstacle course. Bring a blanket or chairs so you can relax and enjoy the evening, but leave your pets, coolers, and tents at home. 

Getting There

Live After 5 is held at North Boulevard Town Square on Friday nights from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. There's plenty of free street parking in the area. 

The fall season will begin on September 20th and continues each Friday through November 1st. If the last season is any indication, we're in for a treat! It featured popular performers including Chase Tyler Band, Werewolf, Rebirth Brass Band, and River City Hit Squad. 

About the Downtown Business Association

The Downtown Business Association of Baton Rouge is a nonprofit organization funded by members. It's the only organization that represents all downtown businesses. Their mission is to encourage economic growth and cultivate downtown's community culture. The Live After 5 Concert Series supports this goal by attracting thousands of visitors both from the city of Baton Rouge and nearby areas. 

The DBA also provides members with support in a variety of ways, including sponsoring business networking events throughout the year. 

We know that the community you live in is just as important as the home itself. While we're helping you find your dream home, we'll also introduce you to some of the best things to do nearby. Contact us to get started touring some of the best Baton Rouge homes for sale in our area.


Boosting Your Credit Score to Buy a Home

Baton Rouge Credit Score

If you're planning on becoming a homeowner, you're probably well aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Countless factors can either open the door to homeownership or close it. For better or worse, your credit score is one of those factors, and our REALTORS® are here to help make sure that little number doesn't hold you back. Here's what you need to know about how to improve your credit score to buy a house. 

Why does a credit score matter when you're buying a house?
A credit score is certainly not the only consideration that will determine your ability to get a mortgage, but it's a big one. Lenders look at credit scores as a measure of financial trustworthiness – a reflection of how reliably you pay off your debts. If your credit score is low, a lender might worry about your ability to pay back a home loan. 

Buying a house with bad credit isn't impossible, but it can be a whole lot harder. Even if you are able to get a loan, it probably won't have the terms and conditions you'd prefer. Buyers with low credit typically only qualify for subprime loans, which come with much higher interest rates, so it pays to work on your credit before you start shopping around for a lender. 

What is good credit?
So, what makes a good credit score, and what makes a bad credit score? There isn't always an easy answer to that question. Each lender will have her own idea of what score is acceptable, so if your score is somewhere in the middle of the range between good and not-so-good, your results will likely vary depending on where you seek out a loan. But in general, credit scores break down as follows: 

  • Exceptional: 800-850
  • Very good: 740-799
  • Good: 670-739
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Poor: 300-579

How can you improve your credit score?
If your credit score is in the mid 700s or higher, you probably don't have to worry too much about whether or not you can get a mortgage. But if you're anywhere south of that range, it's worthwhile to try to boost your credit score before trying to get a loan. Luckily, there are several ways you can accomplish that goal: 

  • Get a credit report. You can get a free credit report online, so it's important that you do so. Look over your report to identify problem areas, and keep an eye out for mistakes that might be dragging down your score. 
  • Pay down your debts. Paying off your debts will have the biggest and fastest effect of your credit score. Most importantly, pay off any bills that are past due, and keep them current. Paying your bills on time can show real improvements on your credit score in as little as 30 days.
  • Improve credit utilization. The amount you can borrow versus the amount of debt you're carrying is known as credit utilization, and it makes up 30% of your credit score. The more available credit you have, the better, so work on paying credit card bills to free up credit. 
  • Open up a secured credit account. If you have bad credit or no credit, apply for a secured credit card (which usually requires a small deposit). Use it to pay small, recurring bills each month and keep your payments current. 

If you're in the market for Baton Rouge homes for sale, our team is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about how you can improve your credit score to make your dreams of homeownership a reality. 


New to Baton Rouge? 9 Ways to Meet Your Neighbors

Baton Rouge Neighbors

Once you move into one of the wonderful Baton Rouge homes for sale, meeting your neighbors is the next step in putting down your roots. Mister Rogers greeted his "neighbors" with a musical invitation, but in real life, the singing ability is not required.

Use these simple but effective tips to meet your new neighbors and begin establishing a positive presence.

  1. Smile
    A genuine smile is one of the most basic yet powerful tools of personal interaction. Smiling demonstrates that you're warm and approachable, and it instantly brightens the other person's day. Be sure to smile and say hi with everyone you encounter.
  2. Scope Out the Neighborhood
    If you observe carefully, patterns regarding your neighbors begin to emerge. Which homes include kids? Who spends a lot of time on gardening and yard work? Any cycling enthusiasts? Not only does this give you an opening for conversation, but you'll quickly determine if you have any common interests.
  3. Hit the Streets
    Walking is the best way to explore your new neighborhood. As you encounter others, ask relevant questions such as where to find the best pizza joint. People generally appreciate a chance to be helpful and share their opinions. Getting out and about also helps turn you into a familiar face in the neighborhood.
  4. Keep It Short and Sweet
    Few things turn people off as much as someone who doesn't know when to quit. No need to share your life story when first meeting your neighbors. Also, stay away from intrusive personal questions which could mark you as a nosy neighbor. Keep initial conversations brief and let relationships develop at their own natural pace.
  5. Pay Attention to the Little Things
    So it's late in the evening on trash pickup day and your empty bins are still sitting at the curb. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but those are the kinds of things that can grate on neighbors' nerves. Take your cues from others in the neighborhood and learn the "unwritten rules."
  6. Leverage Social Media
    Many neighborhoods are using sites such as Nextdoor and Facebook to create online groups for information sharing. Find out which groups are established in your area. Once you join, don't be a "lurker." Membership is more valuable when you participate.
  7. Take an Active Role
    Show your commitment to making the neighborhood a great place to live. Sign up for neighborhood watch, join a carpool group, or take part in local Meetup events.
  8. Lend a Helping Hand
    Seemingly minor tasks such as helping a neighbor unload groceries can pay big dividends in goodwill points. Conversely, ask a neighbor for a small favor, whether it's the loan of a tool or the classic cup of sugar. When thanking them, make sure to express your willingness to respond in kind.
  9. Throw a Party
    Inviting neighbors into your home is a nice way to get to know them without the pressure of one-to-one conversations. It doesn't have to be a big, formal blowout. Select a few people to come by for a casual get-together. Post-move is a good time because no one will expect you to go all out. You can even get away with asking guests to bring extra chairs or snacks.

Our REALTORS® go the extra mile to make sure you're comfortable in your new home. For friendly and experienced help with your Baton Rouge real estate needs, contact us.


7 Habits of Successful Home Buyers

Successful Home Buyers

Buying a home for the first time is definitely a learning experience. There are a lot of details, new terminology and plenty of decision making. Many first-time buyers find the whole thing can be overwhelming at times. But it doesn't have to be. Remember you have control and can take actions that will greatly increase your chances of successfully purchasing one of the Lafayette homes for sale you've been dreaming of. 

Start incorporating these seven home-buying habits today, and you'll be on your way to changing your house hunt from aggravating into awesome.

  1. Look at the financial big picture. Take the steps necessary to financially prepare to purchase a home. Check your credit report, get educated about the types of financing and interest rates available, and figure out your budget. These steps all lead up to getting a mortgage pre-approval before you shop.
  2. Educate yourself about the process. There are a lot of steps to buying a home and a lot of new terminology and concepts to learn about. Familiarizing yourself with them before you start will help you know what to expect, when to ask questions, and when to make changes.
  3. Have the right team behind you. There are several professionals you'll need so it is important to take the time to find the right ones. Our REALTORS®, your lender, a home inspector, insurance agent, an attorney can save you time and headaches with their expertise. They can give recommendations and advice, and confirm that everything is correct.
  4. Be methodical and organized. Have a plan. Think about your wants and needs in a home before you shop. Have financial paperwork in order and available when you need it. Plan out when you will be able to look at homes and meet with your agent. The structure will keep you accountable and allow the process to move forward as quickly as possible.
  5. Have realistic expectations. Expecting to find a pristine mansion in an exclusive neighborhood, far under the price you'd pay for something much smaller will set you up for disappointment. When you start house hunting, it can seem like everyone has some incredible story about an amazing deal. There are exceptions, but keep in mind most people end up with a great home that meets most of their needs for a fair price. Knowing what kinds of homes and amenities are available in your price range and what a reasonable asking price is will ultimately help you reach your goal of purchasing a home. It will also help you recognize a good deal and a good investment when you see one.
  6. Flexibility is key. It's important to remember that you may have to give up something to get something else. Know ahead of time where you're willing to compromise. Many buyers change their minds about their wants and needs after seeing several houses, and that's okay. Be willing to negotiate on price, inclusions or repairs. Being flexible will help you find win-win situations that can make the deal happen.
  7. Be proactive. Being focused and engaged during all parts of the process and realizing that you will have to make a consistent effort to achieve your goal. You will routinely need to communicate with your real estate agent and other professionals, schedule appointments and showings, gather information, express opinions, and ask questions. Consistently moving forward and taking the next step will help you tremendously.

Buying a home is a big decision and it takes some effort to get there. But there is a lot you can do to help ensure your success. Contact us today to get started your home-buying journey.


New Orleans' Red Dress Run

Red Dress Run

No matter where you see it or who's wearing it, a red dress always has a way of catching the eye. So surely you might notice when thousands of people hit the French Quarter for a day of running, music, and drinks wearing red dresses. And the event would stand out even more if half of the people wearing those dresses were men! Well, that's the idea behind the annual Red Dress Run in New Orleans, hosted by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers. The Red Dress Run is one big party that supports great causes, and our REALTORS® have the details on how you can get involved in this unique NOLA event this year.

The Event: Red Dress Run
Date: August 10, 2019
Location: Crescent Park – Crescent Park Trail, New Orleans, LA 70117

  • Hit the Streets in Your Finest Red Dress
    Or any red dress, really. The Red Dress Run is a full day of outdoor fun, with drinking, dancing, and even a bit of running, so it's good to wear something comfortable. That goes for the men, too! Running is optional, but a red dress is not. Everyone participating in the Red Dress Run will be rocking a red dress, so don't be surprised when you see guys shopping in the dress section. Veteran runners suggest skipping sequins, and anything else that would make a dress uncomfortable on a hot summer day.

  • The Fun Starts at Crescent Park
    New Orleans homes for sale make it easy to enjoy the run, which starts at Crescent Park and continues through the French Quarter in a sea of red. While the run includes thousands of participants, you won't find too many people actually running at full speed. Most people keep a comfortable pace in the general direction of the finish line, with a focus on not spilling the drink in their hand. You'll find plenty of fantastic, local beer along the route, and the party continues long after you cross the finish line. Best of all, your registration entitles you to unlimited food, beer, and music all day long.

  • Raise Money for Charities at the Red Dress Run
    The Red Dress Run is the perfect opportunity to have some fun in the city and to raise money for charitable causes. The run has raised more than $1 million over the years for local causes, and you can choose to make a tax-deductible donation when you sign up. All proceeds from the run also go to charity.

  • Excitement for Participants and Spectators Alike
    The Red Dress Run is a fun event for spectators, too! Even if you're not participating, you can stake out a prime spot along the route, grab a cold drink, and watch the action. Cheer on the runners, and enjoy a party that lasts all day long.

  • Learn More about the New Orleans Hash House Harriers
    Participant in the Red Dress Run can run, walk, or dance their way to the finish line, with the organizers encouraging participants to enjoy the festivities on their own terms. That fits the outlook of the New Orleans Hash House Harriers, who bill themselves as a "drinking club with a running problem." You're welcome to try for a personal best or wander your way to the finish line with a cold drink in hand.

The Red Dress Run is a fantastically fun event, and it's just one taste of the unique experiences awaiting you in New Orleans all year long. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA area.


6 Places to Celebrate with Your Friends in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge Places to Hangout
"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints in your heart." ~ Eleanor Rosevelt

August 1st is National Girlfriends' Day, and it's the perfect time to celebrate that special relationship you share with your best friends. Our girlfriends are always there for us through thick and thin, and there's no better way to show them how much you care than by planning a day filled with fun adventures in Baton Rouge. 

Whether you're in the area searching for Baton Rouge homes for sale or you've made your way here for a weekend getaway, there's no shortage of great things for you and your friends to do together. From the moment you wake up until it's time for bed, our REALTORS® have planned out the perfect day for you!  

  1. Brunch at Juban's Creole Restaurant: 3739 Perkins Rd. Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Nothing says "Girl's Day" like bottomless brunch, and Juban's Creole Restaurant is the place to do it! Their brunch menu features plenty of decadent seafood options, unlimited Champagne, Mimosas & Bellinis, and great drink specials. You'll need plenty of energy to get you through the day, so go ahead and indulge.

  2. Paddleboarding at Muddy Water Paddle Company: 4355 Perkins Rd Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Once you and your girlfriends are fueled up, it's time for some adventure! Head on over to Muddy Water Paddle Company for a paddleboard lesson or book a party and enjoy a day on the water. Whether you're experienced paddleboarders or absolute beginners, this is guaranteed to be an adventure you won't soon forget. 

  3. Tour and Rum Tasting at Three Roll Estate: 760 St. Philip Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    After playing on the water, you'll definitely be ready for something a bit more low-key. A tour and rum tasting at Three Roll Estate is a great way to unwind while enjoying another unique experience.

    Learn how the spirits make their journey from the sugar cane farm to the distillery and into your glass. Tours last 45 minutes and end in the tasting room where you'll get to try some of the distillery's premium rums. 
  1. Relaxing Massage at Healthcare Gallery and Wellness Spa: 3488 Brentwood Dr. Suites 102 & 103 Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    Part art gallery and part wellness spa, Healthcare Gallery is the perfect spot for you and your girlfriends to rejuvenate before your night out. Book yourselves some aromatherapy relaxation massages to help ease muscle tension and leave you feeling great. 

  2. Dinner at Tsunami:100 Lafayette Street, 6th Floor, Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    Since you're celebrating a special day, you don't want to slack on your dinner plans. Tsunami restaurant will give you the memorable experience you're looking for.

    Located on the rooftop terrace overlooking the Mississippi River, the only thing better than this restaurant's view is the food. The menu includes a huge selection of sushi as well as steaks, dinner entrees, and, of course, sake. 
  1. Nightcaps at Olive or Twist: 2122 Perkins Palm Ave. Suite A Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    There's one more stop you need to make before you call it a night. That's because you won't want to miss out on the awesome atmosphere and unique drink options at Olive or Twist. Choose from a huge selection of spirits, order a specialty cocktail from the menu, or play "cocktail roulette" by choosing from a list of options and letting your bartender create a unique surprise. Trust us when we say this is the perfect ending to your unforgettable girl's day. 

Once you've spent some time exploring Baton Rouge with your besties, you'll quickly see why so many people love living here. Are you ready to start looking for your dream home in Baton Rouge? Contact us today to get started. 


Move-in Ready vs. New Construction Homes in Lafayette?

Move in Ready

Our REALTORS® spend much of their time showing prospective buyers new home developments around Lafayette. One of the first decisions many buyers make is whether to pursue new construction or move-in ready Lafayette homes for sale.

There are pros and cons to each approach, but no wrong way to go. Your decision will depend in large part on your goals and the lifestyle you plan to lead here in Louisiana. Either way, a local real estate expert is an essential ally in finding the right home with the best price and timeline.

Here are the four significant differences between new construction and move-in ready:

  1. Time
    The question of time is the biggest one since it affects all of the others.

    Purchasing an existing home is by far the faster of the two options. If you're in a time crunch – for example, starting a new job soon – you'll usually want the option that leaves you with solid, reliable housing faster. Moving into an existing home should take no longer than 60 days.

    Building a home from scratch, on the other hand, is something of an undertaking. With the right home building company, a lot of the hard work will go on behind the scenes with no extra worries for you. Still, you should expect to wait somewhere between four and six months.

  2. Budget
    On average, custom homes will cost more per square foot than prebuilt ones. If you're willing to compare builders, however, you can find deals that may reduce costs to nearly the same levels. For example, builders working within their own subdivision can control costs better.

    On your own parcel of land, there's a unique environment for builders to contend with.

    Prebuilt homes are less expensive overall because the structure and amenities are all in place. Still, you should factor into your decision in the quality of the house and the land. Get a professional home inspection before you commit to bidding on any home.

  3. Location
    When building, you have the option of purchasing your own lot or building in a new construction community. The latter tends to be easier, with a streamlined buying process that can take the sting out of both the wait and the expense.

    The location also affects the available housing. For example, building your own home is common in small towns since properties for sale may be few and far between. On the other hand, finding undeveloped land in urban centers is difficult, but older homes are placed on the market regularly.

  4. Complexity
    Buying a prebuilt home is a more straightforward choice. In most cases, you can get much of what you want without having to grapple with decision fatigue. This is crucial for people who have busy, hectic schedules – raising a family, dealing with a challenging career, or both.

    Yes, there's a lot to think about when you buy any home. That said, a real estate agent can highlight prebuilt homes that meet your needs. On the other hand, complexity is part of what you're investing in when you choose new construction. You have control over the floor plan, colors, and finishes.

    Either option can be fulfilling, so your priorities determine what matters most.

When you get started buying a home, the options can seem limitless. Narrowing them down is the first step in deciding on an approach that will satisfy your needs best. A real estate agent with deep insight into the local market can get you started on the right foot.

Contact us today to learn more.


Satchmo SummerFest Celebrates New Orleans Native Louis Armstrong

Louis ArmstrongSummerFest Takes Place August 2 - 4

In a city with more than its share of local legends, there's no doubt that Louis Daniel Armstrong – aka Satchmo – owns a special place in New Orleans history. Louis Armstrong was one of the most influential people in the history of jazz, as a trumpeter, composer, and dynamic live performer. That's why every year in the heart of summer New Orleans honors Armstrong's many cultural contributions with Satchmo SummerFest, one of the most anticipated events of the year. Our REALTORS® are ready to celebrate Satchmo, and we've got all the info you need to enjoy Satchmo SummerFest this year.

The Event: Satchmo SummerFest
Dates: August 2 – 4, 2019
Location: New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Mint – 400 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA 70116

  • Three Days of Live Music
    New Orleans homes for sale make it easy to enjoy live music anytime, but even by NOLA standards, Satchmo SummerFest features a ton of great music. The festival includes three packed days of live music, from local, national, and international artists. Performances start around noon each day and last well into the evening. There will be three stages open throughout the festival, so you can stake out all of the action at one stage or bounce around to catch your favorite artists.

  • Fantastic Food and Delicious Drinks at Satchmo SummerFest
    Spending the day exploring, dancing, and singing along is sure to help you work up an appetite, and you won't have to go far to sample some great local cuisine. Satchmo SummerFest features food from some of the most popular spots in the city, with Cajun cooking, comfort food, and so much more. Of course, there will also be plenty of drinks to enjoy, including cocktails, wine, and beer from some of the biggest names in New Orleans.

  • Family Fun at Pop's Playhouse
    Satchmo SummerFest is designed to be an event that the whole family can enjoy, and Pop's Playhouse is the perfect place to keep younger members of the crowd entertained. At Pop's Playhouse, families will find opportunities to create art, experiment with musical instruments, participate in STEM activities, create decorations, and learn more about the legacy of Louis Armstrong. If you're looking for Pop's Playhouse, head to the second floor of the Jazz Museum throughout Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

  • Satchmo Salute Second Line Parade
    It wouldn't be a Satchmo celebration without a proper second line parade, and the Satchmo Salute Second Line Parade is always one of the highlights of SummerFest. Experience a true New Orleans tradition, starting with a Jazz Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church. The parade starts after the mass, proceeding from the church to Armstrong Park, before heading toward the festival. Walk the route with your favorite crew, or pick the perfect spot to watch the parade go by.

  • History and Learning at the Satchmo Legacy Stage
    While music, drinks, and dancing are always a priority at Satchmo SummerFest, learning is never far behind. At the Satchmo Legacy Stage, you'll have the chance to learn from some of the most prominent Louis Armstrong scholar in the world. The stage features three full days of discussions on a wide range of topics, including Satchmo's influences, roots, music, and history as a composer.

Still searching for a home that allows you to enjoy all of the unique history, culture, and music of New Orleans? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA area.  Our team is here to help.


10 Tips for Buying a Waterfront Home in Baton Rouge

Waterfront Home Baton Rouge

Our REALTORS® get a lot of questions about waterfront property in Baton Rouge.

Buyers often wonder: Is it challenging to get to closing on such valuable property?

Typically, waterfront properties command a premium. A home by the water provides amenities others don't, from a beautiful view to a cool breeze that can take the edge off hot summers. Listings for waterfront property can be competitive.

Here's what you need to know to be successful buying waterfront property in Baton Rouge:

  1. Work With a Specialist
    Connect with an agent you can trust early on. Ask plenty of questions and be sure you're working with a real expert who recognizes the opportunities – and pitfalls – of waterfront living.
  2. Examine the Property
    You can do just about whatever you want with your structure, but the land it stands on is forever. With that in mind, be wary of falling in love with a house and overlooking the land quality. Consider factors like privacy and view.
  3. Match Land to Lifestyle
    The odds are good you're looking forward to getting out on the water regularly. How easy it is to access, navigate, and use the water will make a big difference in how much you enjoy your new home.
  4. Get Preapproved
    Loans for waterfront properties can be tricky because of the high asking price. "Jumbo mortgages" that cover these transactions are available only to ultra-qualified buyers. Gathering your documentation and getting preapproved may take longer, so start early.
  5. Check for Wind-Proofing
    The water can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Get a professional inspection done so you'll be aware of any necessary repairs or structural weaknesses. Storm shutters are a must for areas subject to significant wind storms. Stainless steel locks can beat corrosion from the salty air.
  6. Explore Insurance Early
    Insurance represents a significant piece of your housing expenses on the waterfront. Remember wind policies don't cover damage from water and vice versa. You may need both, along with a general hazard policy, and all three could come from different insurers.
  7. Review Rules and Restrictions
    Towns and cities are more careful about protecting waterfront resources, so there could be some restrictions on renovating the property. Talk to relevant government agencies to fail-proof your plans before you commit. Ensure the water sports you want to enjoy are permitted, too.
  8. Talk It Over With Neighbors
    When it comes to waterfront property, few others know better than the neighbors. They'll be able to tell you whether the area is all it's cracked up to be – and whether they've heard anything you should know about the property you're interested in buying. Forewarned is forearmed.
  9. Double-check Utilities
    If you're scouting for properties in rural areas, don't take anything for granted when it comes to utilities. Go through a checklist: electricity, clean water, septic, cable, and internet to understand which utilities do and do not come with the home. Scrutinize both the installation costs and ongoing fees.
  10. Reach Out to Your HOA
    If you will be part of a homeowners' association, read the community covenants carefully. They will tell you all about the upkeep and maintenance you'll be expected to perform. If you have questions, bring them to the HOA's management company early in the process.

Contact us to find out more about waterfront property near Baton Rouge. We're here to help.


What to Do When It's Jam-Packed with Junk

Lafayette Donation Centers

5 Area Donation Centers to Visit on National Give Something Away Day

In early 2019, Marie Kondo's Netflix series about "tidying up" went viral and sparked a nationwide decluttering trend. In the spirit of KonMari, celebrate National Give Something Away Day on July 15 by finding a new home for unwanted items at one of these donation centers around Lafayette suggested by our REALTORS®.

  1. ARC of Acadiana Thrift Store - 710 S. Union St., Opelousas, LA 70570
    Donations to ARC of Acadiana Thrift Store, located not far from Opelousas homes for sale, provide a two-fold benefit. Proceeds support ARC's mission to improve quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities, and the store itself provides a place for ARC's clients to learn valuable work skills. Hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. every day but Sunday.

  2. Chez Hope - 801 Main St., Franklin, LA 70538
    Chez Hope offers shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence. The organization, founded in 1982, also operates an outreach program to raise public awareness and promote social change. Items needed at Chez Hope include new and used linens, full-size bath, beauty and hair care products, feminine hygiene supplies, trash bags, and disposable tableware. Make an appointment to drop off your donation during a break from viewing Franklin homes for sale

  3. Goodwill Industries - 1811 Rees St., Breaux Bridge, LA 70515
    Over the years, Goodwill Industries has helped so many individuals and families that it ranks in the top five in the most recent Brand World Value Index, which identifies brands that inspire consumers with their mission. The organization has a local donation center and retail store just minutes away from Breaux Bridge homes for sale that accepts clothing and household goods in usable condition. 

  4. Vermilion ARC Resale Clothing Store - 104 N. St. Charles St., Abbeville, LA 70510
    Kids grow out of clothes so quickly they're often barely worn. Recycle wearable items by taking them to the Vermilion ARC Resale Clothing Store. Proceeds from all sales fund ARC's work with developmentally disabled individuals. Hours are 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, making it convenient to stop by while touring Abbeville homes for sale

  5. Habitat for Humanity ReStore - 3123-1/2 Johnston St., Lafayette, LA 70503
    Homeownership provides a valuable feeling of self-sufficiency, and Habitat for Humanity makes the dream attainable for individuals and families in need. Habitat for Humanity ReStore, close to Lafayette homes for sale, funds the organization's mission through sales of donated building materials, furniture, and selected housewares. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. If you're pressed for time or items are too bulky to move, contact the store to schedule a pick-up.

Whether you're buying or selling a home, our friendly and professional REALTORS® can help streamline the process. Contact us to learn more.


Hottest Food Trucks in New Orleans

New Orleans Food Truck

After a busy day of showing the best New Orleans homes for sale, you'll sometimes find our REALTORS® grabbing a bite to eat from some of the most iconic restaurants in the city.

But you won't find these famous eateries in a shopping center or tucked away in a fancy hotel. No, the best-kept secret in the New Orleans culinary world is our food trucks.

Over the last decade or so, food trucks have taken New Orleans by storm – and we're not the only ones. A thriving food truck scene is popping up in America's top cities from coast to coast.

The story of the food truck industry began overseas, where they can be glimpsed offering hot food 24 hours a day in many of Europe's bustling university cities. The last few years have seen a huge surge in quirky, creative food truck concepts by entrepreneurs right here in America.

Let's visit with seven of the top New Orleans food trucks you won't want to miss:

  1. Rollin' Fatties – 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112
    Rollin' Fatties is the talk of New Orleans: With dozens of raving reviews, its fans call it the best burrito in NOLA. Stuff a big, affordable burrito with beef, pulled chicken, tofu, or fish and chow down! Tacos and nachos are also available.
  2. Food Drunk Food Truck – 1205 North Al Davis Road, New Orleans, LA 70123
    Food Drunk Food Truck is on a never-ending journey to provide hearty lunchtime fare to workers and visitors in the Central Business District. It's so popular, you can even phone in your order. The intrepid truck stocks ribs, burgers, chicken, and more.
  3. Crepes a La Cart – 1039 Broadway Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
    Crepes a La Carte is a snazzy New Orleans take on the classic French pastry. Sweet and savory crepes are available in abundance: There are more than 50 varieties. Major categories include vegetarian, smoked salmon, sweet, and savory specials like the Monte Cristo crepe.
  4. La Cocinita Food Truck –  1719 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70113 
    La Cocinita brings contemporary Venezuelan-inspired street food to New Orleans. Chef Benoit Angulo has cooked up Venezuelan specialty dishes since childhood. Now, La Cocinita features arepas, tacos, and bowls with your choice of braised chicken, braised pork, or vegetables.
  5. Bonafried – Throughout New Orleans, LA
    Southern fried chicken sandwiches are the specialty at Bonafried, a local success story that's a fixture at music festivals. The truck is out for lunch every day, so check Facebook for where to get your Classic, Special with "sweet heat" glaze, or Tennessee Hot chicken sandwich.
  6. Taceaux Loceaux – Throughout New Orleans, LA
    Serving up lunch and dinner at rotating locations every day, Taceaux Loceaux may be the biggest name in food trucks in NOLA. The menu here is all about gourmet specialty tacos: You'll find everything from prawn to brisket to the vegetarian-friendly fried cauliflower.
  7. Mamita's Original Hot Tamales – Throughout New Orleans, LA
    Mamita's is one of the longest-running food trucks in New Orleans, with a special recipe said to date back to 1923. Beef, corn, and chicken tamales are always in demand and wow, do they go fast! You can get as many as a dozen fresh or frozen. Check its Facebook for weekly locations.

Fantastic street food is just one of many pleasant surprises waiting for you here in the Big Easy. Latter & Blum Inc. REALTORS® will help you find the perfect home so you can enjoy everything New Orleans has in store. Contact us to learn more.


You Can Buy a Home with Student Loan Debt

Baton Rouge Student

The media, financial advisors, and even real estate experts are calling the current $1.5 trillion national student loan debt anything from a "crisis" to an outright national emergency.  While there's certainly cause for concern, living a normal life, having a family, and even owning a home isn't out of the picture even if you have student loans.

Our REALTORS® are plenty familiar with the challenges that student loan borrowers face as they enter into the workforce including homeownership.  The bottom line is, you can buy a home with student loan debt, and here's how.

Monitor Your Credit and Improve It
If you're a first-time homebuyer, chances are you haven't looked too deeply into your credit and perhaps have never had to.  This is a great place to start if you're looking to buy a home with student debt on the books.  

It's estimated that on average, student loan borrowers owe somewhere in the neighborhood of $35,000 each.  This sort of debt obligation can hurt your credit, but it can also show that you're worthy of credit if you make timely, regular payments on your loan note.  Additionally, if there are places you can improve your credit such as reducing or eliminating credit card debt, then you can improve your credit score relatively easily.

Your Debt May Be An Asset
Depending on your view of your student loan debt, it may actually be one of your greatest assets.  Assuming you put that debt to good use and earned a college degree, chances are that your earnings are higher at your age than they were when your parents joined the workforce.

What this means is that the return on your investment may very well be worth the extra debt and additional payments you have each month.  You're likely to be in a better financial situation with your income than the Baby Boomer generation which means you can likely afford to buy a home sooner.  All of that to say, leverage the added income you have and put it towards homeownership.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Provided you've done your homework thus far by monitoring and improving your credit and paying down any debts that are holding you back, then you should seriously consider applying for a mortgage and getting pre-approved.  Pre-approval simply means that based on the snapshot of your personal finances, a lender is willing to give you a certain amount of money for a mortgage.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it can be a major boost to your home search because you have a better idea of how much you can spend on a home and allow you to understand what payments you can make.  Additionally, pre-approval will likely lock you into a favorable interest rate that will be protected from rising in the future.

Getting approved for a mortgage along with mapping out your future student loan payment options can give you a very firm grasp on exactly what you can expect from likely your two biggest monthly expenses.  From there, you can shop for a home within a fixed price window.

If you're looking for Baton Rouge homes for sale, then contact us to see our current inventory and get started with one of our local real estate pros who can help you find the home you want!


5 Acadiana Picnic Spots Lafayette Locals Love

Picnic Spots in LafayetteNothing says summer like a picnic. July is National Picnic month, so what better time pack a basket and head outdoors to exceptional Acadiana picnic spots.

Whether you're looking for a place to take a quick break, planning a romantic afternoon out, or want to get together with family and friends, fun times are sure to be had! Lafayette homes for sale are right near some of the best picnic spots in our city. So take the opportunity to get to know your new neighborhood, enjoy a meal and summer fun at these prime locales.

  1. Girard Park, 500 Girard Park Dr. Lafayette, LA 70503
    Girard Park is one of the most well-known and popular picnic spots in town. There's plenty of covered picnic areas as well as wide open spaces to put down a blanket and enjoy the scenery. Girard Park has no shortage of scenic regions either, with a bridge, pond, fountains, ducks, fishing and a hiking trail.
  2. Veteran's Park, 200 Feu Follet Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508
    In addition to the Veteran's memorial, the small, quiet, and pleasant Veteran's Park has covered picnic tables, grills, benches overlooking the pond, and a fishing pier. There's plenty of wildlife to watch and a small play area to make your afternoon